First-of-its-kind fungal vaccine shows promise in animal trials

Athens-based University of Georgia researchers developed a first-of-its-kind fungal vaccine, and they say it has shown promising results in animal trials.

The vaccine targets three of the most common causes of fungal infections: Aspergillus, Candida and Pneumocystis, according to a Jan. 31 university news release. The preclinical trial, the results of which were published in PNAS Nexus, tested the vaccine on four animal models, including primates. The vaccine developed protective antibodies in all models.

"Because it targets three different pathogens, the vaccine has the potential to be groundbreaking regarding invasive fungal infections," said Karen Norris, PhD, lead investigator and a professor in the university's College of Veterinary Medicine. "Plans are underway to develop the vaccine for a phase 1 (human) safety trial."

Fungal infections cause more than 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year and are associated with higher hospitalization costs, longer lengths of stay and higher risk of death in hospitalized patients, according to the release.

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