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Medicine Biotech

New Antifungal Provides Hope in the Fight Against Superbugs (sciencedaily.com) 33

dryriver shares news about the ongoing war against drug-resistant fungus. ScienceDaily reports: Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world -- creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines -- and causing deadly invasive infection. C. auris is particularly problematic because it loves hospitals, has developed resistance to a wide range of antifungals, and once it infects a patient doctors have limited treatment options.

But in a recent Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy study, researchers confirmed a new drug compound kills drug-resistant C. auris, both in the laboratory and in a mouse model that mimics human infection. The drug works through a novel mechanism. Unlike other antifungals that poke holes in yeast cell membranes or inhibit sterol synthesis, the new drug blocks how necessary proteins attach to the yeast cell wall. This means C. auris yeast can't grow properly and have a harder time forming drug-resistant communities that are a stubborn source of hospital outbreaks... The drug is first in a new class of antifungals, which could help stave off drug resistance.

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New Antifungal Provides Hope in the Fight Against Superbugs

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  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday January 20, 2018 @03:05PM (#55968065) Homepage Journal

    For reasons you can see by looking at the tree of life entry for Eukaryotes [tolweb.org]: fungi it turns out are much more closely related to animals than plants are, and of course plants are vastly more closely related to animals than bacteria or viruses. That makes it hard to find antifungals that have a high therapeutic index: the ratio of the quantity needed to produce toxicity over the quantity needed for therapeutic effect.

    • They're those little blob things [wp.com] you tried to evolve past as soon as you could.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday January 20, 2018 @05:06PM (#55968659) Journal

      That makes it hard to find antifungals that have a high therapeutic index:

      But they do exist. For example, soaking your feet in a 75-25 mixture of white vinegar and generic Listerine (eucalyptus and menthol) will completely eradicate foot and nail fungus. You don't have to spend big money on creams or sprays, just buy a gallon of vinegar and a bottle of grocery store chain generic Listerine and soak your feet. You can even reuse the mixture.

      When my dad was really old, he got this nasty foot and nail fungus. Nothing seemed to help for long. His doctor (who happened to be from one of the countries Trump calls a "shithole") told me to try the vinegar foot soak. Worked like a charm, infection never came back.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Saturday January 20, 2018 @06:09PM (#55968957) Homepage Journal

        But they do exist. For example, soaking your feet in a 75-25 mixture of white vinegar and generic Listerine (eucalyptus and menthol) will completely eradicate foot and nail fungus. You don't have to spend big money on creams or sprays, just buy a gallon of vinegar and a bottle of grocery store chain generic Listerine and soak your feet. You can even reuse the mixture.

        The outer layers of your skin are dead anyway, so it doesn't matter if you cover it with poison (unless the poison happens to be absorbable transdermally). But if you drink enough of that 75-25 mixture of white vinegar and Listerine, you're probably going to die, and if you try to inhale it, you're almost definitely going to die.

        That's the problem; we don't just need antifungal medications to treat external infections, but also for fungi in places where they can't be killed chemically and washed away, like in people's lungs, intestines, etc.

        • Clearing up fungus in extremities is nonetheless a very useful treatment, especially for people with poor circulation or those recovering from poor foot care.

          The idea that it "doesn't matter if you cover your skin with poison" is in conflict with issues of absorption, and the kinds of skin cracks or even ulcers associated with very bad fungal infections.

        • If the country isn't a shithole, then why isn't your friend the doctor there today helping his own people? Why'd he come to the most racist xenophobic nation on the planet to live and give the deplorable bigots who live there the benefit of his skills?
  • When you see a claim that a common drug or vitamin "kills cancer cells in petri dish," keep in mind: so does a handgun. [xkcd.com]

    Yeah, I know - this apparently works in mice models so it's a little different. Still feels relevant.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      If the summary is correct, this doesn't kill the bacteria, it prevents them from attaching. This might not cause the same kind of evolutionary pressure to evolve away from the effect.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Fungi, not bacteria. And if parasitic fungi can't attach, they die.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Mmmm. Your point about fungi is definitely correct. I'm not certain that you're right about that killing them, but you could be. With bacteria that generally just slows them down.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Saturday January 20, 2018 @06:45PM (#55969107) Journal

    Give it to McDonalds ASAP to feed their cows in massive numbers so they can get an increase the shareprice before it's too late!

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