Covid may lead to emergence of ‘superfungus’ in Brazil, say scientists

Publicado em 15 junho 2021

Scientists warn that overcrowded hospitals, exhausted health care workers and other factors are creating “ideal conditions” for the emergence of a “superfungus” with the potential to resist drug treatment.

First two cases of fungal infection candida auris in covid patients, is described in Journal of Fungihandjob was reported in a hospital in Salvador, Brazil’s state of Bahia.

“Nine Others” c auriso The patients have since been diagnosed in the same hospital, some colonized. [with the fungus in their organism but not doing harm] and others infected,” said co-author Arnaldo Colombo of the Federal University of So Paulo in a statement.

While no other cases have been reported in Brazil, researchers say there is cause for concern.

“We’re monitoring the evolutionary characteristics ofc auriso isolated from patients in a hospital in Salvador, and we have already found samples with low sensitivity to fluconazole and echinocandins,” Mr Colombo said.

The latter, scientists say, belong to the main class of drugs used to treat invasive candidiasis.

In some cases, they say the fungus enters the bloodstream and causes a systemic infection called candidemia that is similar to bacterial sepsis.

Previous studies have reported that invasion of the bloodstream and the immune system’s rapid response to the pathogen can cause severe damage to multiple organs and even death rates as high as 60 percent in patients with candidemia.

“The species quickly becomes resistant to many drugs and is not very sensitive to the disinfectants used by hospitals and clinics,” Mr Colombo said.]

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“As a result, it is able to persist in hospitals, where it colonizes healthcare workers and infects patients with severe covid and other chronic diseases,” he said.

Scientists say prolonged hospital stays, urinary and central venous catheters, and the use of steroids and antibiotics disrupt the body’s beneficial bacteria of COVID patients and make them “ideal targets.”C orris”.

“Virus can damage intestinal mucosa of severe COVID patients” [facilitating invasion of the bloodstream by pathogens] So that the patient becomes vulnerable to candidemia,” Mr Colombo said.

While many countries have managed the emergence of the superfungus, researchers say control of hospital-acquired infections throughout Brazil is even more urgent.

Scientists say they’ve got samples every month since December c auriso Isolated for sensitivity to anti-fungal drugs in a Salvador hospital.

“In these tests, we expose the cultured microorganism to progressive concentrations of the anti-fungal to determine the lowest dose that can inactivate it,” Mr Colombo explained.

“In the case of c auriso Present in samples recently isolated in Salvador, for example, the dose should be four to five times higher than the dose used to inactivate the culture isolated in December 2020,” he said.

They found that the fungus evolved structural modifications to the protein to which the drug was bound to disrupt cell wall synthesis – a process that is key to its survival.

Researchers believe that surveillance efforts should be intensified to detect such suspected pathogens in COVID wards along with better sanitation.

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