Scientists across the globe have been studying the effects of fungal infection on the body. During recent years, they have studied how fungi enter, grow, and interact. This is, largely because fungal disease kills approximately 1.5 million people each year.
In the context of this research, scientists have discovered that the candida albicans fungus can hide from immune cells as well as kill them. So, what do we know about this deadly fungus?
Research by the Aberdeen Fungal Group
Scientists working at the University of Aberdeen have noted that Candida albicans can evade immune system cells as well as destroy them.
Many people know this fungal infection as the cause of oral or vaginal thrush. When confined to these areas, this fungal infection is treatable. However, in some cases, it can enter the bloodstream and cause death.
During their research, the Aberdeen Fungal Group observed that this fungus can outsmart the immune system. Normally, the immune system fights a fungus after detecting it, but with Candida albicans, it’s a little different. When the body produces lactic acid, the fungus changes so that the immune system can no longer detect it.
University of Toronto Research
In Toronto, scientists discovered that a little bit of sugar on the fungal cell surface can cause the death of the immune system cell. Because the sugar changes the surface of the fungus, it has the ability to destroy the immune system cell.
Scientists went on to use an enzyme to detach the sugar from the fungus. Subsequently, the deadly fungus was no longer able to kill the immune system cell.
Traditionally, scientists have considered bacteria and viruses as the cause of disease and death. But, it is now quite clear that fungal infections deserve just as much attention and research.