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Mucorales

 
 

Mucorales_Copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.
Copyright Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

The medically important Mucorales spp. are moulds that grow in the environment and can cause the life threatening infection mucormycosis in patients at risk. Rhizopus and Mucor species are the most commonly isolated pathogens, followed by Rhizomucor, Absidia, Cunninghamella, and several other species. Rhinocerebral mucormycosis can be found in patients with diabetes. Neutropenic leukemia patients may develop rhinocerebral or pulmonary mucormycosis. Solid-organ and hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients also represent a growing population at risk. When a predisposed person becomes infected, these agressive moulds simply grow through the blood vessel wall, which explains the frequently associated thrombosis and tissue necrosis. Mortality rates are high.

To date, the standard therapy for invasive mucormycosis is treatment with amphotericin B formulations. The required high doses are associated with considerable toxicity. None of the older available azoles or echinocandins are effective in the treatment of mucormycosis. However, Basilea’s investigational anti-fungal isavuconazole does have in-vitro activity against these moulds.

 
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