Two patients die from new drug-resistant fungus strain at AIIMS Delhi

By Lokmat English Desk | Published: November 23, 2021 08:14 PM2021-11-23T20:14:49+5:302021-11-23T20:14:49+5:30


Officials at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have confirmed that two patients died due to the presence of Aspergillus lentulus, a 'pathogen that causes invasive aspergillosis with high mortality rates'.

According to a report in the Times of India, the two patients (one in his late 50s and another in his early 40s) were suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe.

Aspergillus lentulus, according to open-source medical literature, is a human pathogen with a high mortality rate that causes infection in the lungs. While cases have been reported from various countries in the past, doctors indicate that these might be the first such incident reported in India with this species of Aspergillus.

According to research made available on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, A. lentulus is an Aspergillus species that was first noted in 2005.

The species, researchers had said, caused invasive disease and was characterised by 'decreased susceptibilities to multiple antifungal drugs'.

Aspergillus fungi are prevalent worldwide in soil and decayed matter, and its species are one of the most common agents of invasive infections caused by mould. Spores in the air primarily affect immunocompromised individuals, those suffering illnesses related to blood cancer, individuals who have recently undergone bone marrow or organ transplants etc

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, the fungi have also been linked to those who had previously tested positive for the virus.

With the COVID-19 virus affecting the immune system, patients become exceedingly susceptible to fungal infections. As such, researchers have also documented 'COVID-19–associated pulmonary aspergillosis' cases since the pandemic began.

A 2020 research paper shared on the NCBI website also notes that the various treatments used against COVID-19 (such as dexamethasone or tocilizumab) can impair the immune system.

According to the researchers, corticosteroid administration, chronic cardiovascular disease, renal failure, diabetes mellitus, and obesity were common characteristics among affected patients.