What factors predispose to invasive pulmonary aspergillosis?
Instituto de Investigação em Ciências da Vida e Saúde (ICVS), Escola de Medicina, Universidade de Minho, Portugal
Aspergillus is an airborne fungus present everywhere, both outdoors and indoors, and we breathe in its spores every day. In most healthy individuals, the fungus does not cause infection or health problems of any kind. However, some people – particularly those who are immunosuppressed because, for example, they have received a transplant, have a tumour, are in intensive care or even have COVID-19 – can develop invasive pulmonary aspergillosis, a disease that can be serious and life-threatening.
Globally, 30 million people are at risk of infection each year, although only 300,000 new cases of infection are diagnosed annually. But what is it that causes only certain people to become infected? Despite the fact that significant advances in combating this opportunistic infection have been made in recent years, both diagnosis and treatment of aspergillosis continue to be a serious medical challenge.
In this project, the researchers will investigate whether specific factors alter the balance between the host and its lung microbiota and predispose certain immunocompromised individuals to develop the disease. The results of the study can be used to improve both prevention, diagnosis and treatment of this serious complication and the prognosis of patients.
Whole-systems Analysis of the Microbiome-Metabolome Crosstalk for Biomarker Discovery and Therapy of Respiratory Fungal Diseases