The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday published a report that featured the first-ever list of fungi that are “priority pathogens,” marking a first. The top 19 fungi that pose the greatest risk to public health are listed.
The WHO’s list of fungal priority pathogens (FPPL) is the first worldwide attempt to systematically prioritise fungal diseases, taking into account the unmet needs for research and development (R&D) and the relevance that is believed to be associated with public health. According to a statement from the world health organisation, the WHO FPPL “aims to concentrate and push additional research and policy actions to enhance the worldwide response to fungal diseases and antifungal resistance.”
Only four kinds of antifungal medications are now available, and there aren’t many candidates in the clinical pipeline, according to the WHO, making fungal diseases a serious danger to public health. Additionally, the majority of fungal diseases lack quick and accurate diagnostics, and those that do exist are neither universally accessible or inexpensive internationally.
The health organisation also disclosed that individuals with major underlying immune system-related disorders and seriously unwell patients frequently experience these fungal infections in their invasive forms.
People with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, chronic respiratory conditions, and post-primary TB infection are among the populations most at risk for invasive fungal infections, it said.
Meanwhile, as a result of global warming, increased international travel, and increased commerce, both the incidence and geographic range of fungi illnesses are growing globally.
In a statement, Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director-General for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), noted that fungal infections were “emerging from the shadows of the bacterial antimicrobial resistance pandemic, growing, and are ever more resistant to treatments, becoming a public health concern worldwide.”
Three priority levels—critical, high, and medium—are assigned to the list. The ranking of the fungal infections in each priority category is mostly based on the danger of evolving antifungal resistance and/or their impact on public health.
Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director, AMR Global Coordination Department, stated, “We need more data and information on fungal infections and antifungal resistance to guide and enhance response to these priority fungal diseases.