A Fatal Fungi is Threatening Global Health, According to WHO

The World Health Organization has issued a list of priority pathogens that hopes to encourage research into fungi and drugs.

Included in that list are yeasts and molds found in human nature and on the body that poses a “growing risk” to human health.

WHO said that the 19 species on the list require urgent attention from public-health officials and drug developers.

Four species on the list were designated the highest priority threats, including Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans (found commonly on the human body), Candida Auris, and Cryptococcus neoformans.

WHO’s assistant director-general Hanan Balkhy said, “Fungal infections are growing, and are ever more resistant to treatments, becoming a public health concern worldwide.”

Healthy people remain unlikely to die from fungal infections, but WHO wants people to understand that severe fungal infections are expected to grow as fungi adapt to the warming planet in ways that make them more effective at infecting humans. Such infections are already estimated to kill around 1.6 million people yearly.

While it’s unpleasant to think about fungi taking root inside your body and infecting you, it’s a present danger that grows as the pathogens become more resistant to the drugs we already have to treat.