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Know your enemy: fungal pathogens

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Invasive fungal infections (IFIs) are a leading cause of mortality in intensive care units (ICU),1 and in haematology2,3 and HIV settings.4-6 With resistance to antifungal treatment on the rise,7,8 fight back against the threat by understanding the different fungal pathogens – where they are found, what makes them thrive, and how AmBisome® can help.

AmBisome® has a broad spectrum of activity against the majority of fungal pathogens

When the fungal pathogen is unknown, consider AmBisome® as an option when treating the next IFI – in vitro data demonstrates that AmBisome® is effective against rare and difficult-to-treat infections, including azole-resistant strains.9-12

Micrsocopic image of fungal pathogen in a Petri dish


  • Aspergillus is a type of mould that can cause invasive infection (aspergillosis) in those who are immunocompromised or have respiratory disease13
  • The microscopic spores present in Aspergillus species are found in soil, dust, decaying vegetation and many other settings, and are inhaled by most people every day14
  • There are over 300,000 cases of aspergillosis every year and mortality rates can be as high as 70%15,16
  • The most common species of Aspergillus include A. fumigatus and A. flavus17
  • Common symptoms include fever, chest pain, coughing and shortness of breath18

AmBisome® demonstrates in vitro fungicidal activity against major Aspergillus species, including A. fumigatus and A. flavus.19

Micrsocopic image of fungal pathogen in a Petri dish


  • Candida is a type of yeast that can enter the bloodstream or internal organs and cause infection (candidaemia) in patients at risk, such as those in ICUs or those with a weakened immune system20
  • A common route of infection is through intravenous catheters or cannulas that are needed by patients in the ICU for extended periods of time20
  • There are an estimated 700,000 global cases of invasive candidiasis each year15
  • With candidaemia, mortality rates are between 30-60%21
  • One of the most common IFIs in immunocompromised ICU patients is candidaemia;22 however, there is an increasing variety of rare, resistant, and post-viral life-threatening fungal infections18,23,24
  • The most common species that cause infections are C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei 20
  • Common symptoms include fever or chills that do not improve after antibiotic treatment20

AmBisome® demonstrates in vitro fungicidal activity against a multitude of Candida species, including C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis and C. lusitaniae.10

Micrsocopic image of fungal pathogen in a Petri dish


  • Mucorales are an order of mould fungi that can cause a serious but rare fungal infection (mucormycosis) in at-risk patients20
  • These environmental fungi live in soil and decaying organic matter, and can infect via inhalation of the spores or contact with the skin25
  • The estimated prevalence of mucormycosis is 910,000 cases globally, with around 900,000 of these cases localised to India,15,26 and mortality rates are between 46-96%26-28
  • The most common species are  Rhizopus species and Mucor species28
  • Symptoms depend on the location of the infection (sinus and brain, lungs, skin, gastrointestinal, or disseminated)29-31 but can include swelling, fever, black lesions, blisters or ulcers, coughing, abdominal pain, nausea, and bleeding20

In the fight against mucormycosis, AmBisome® demonstrates in vitro fungicidal activity against Mucorales.10

Micrsocopic image of fungal pathogen in a Petri dish


  • Cryptococcus is an invasive yeast fungus that can cause serious infection (cryptococcosis), commonly associated with immunosuppressed individuals32
  • The two types of species most associated with cryptococcosis are Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii 32
  • They are commonly found in soil, decaying wood, tree hollows and bird droppings and can cause infection through inhalation20
  • Cryptococcal meningitis is a major cause of illness in patients with HIV/AIDS, with an estimated 220,000 cases globally each year33
  • Mortality rates for patients with Cryptococcus gatti are between 12-33%34,35
  • Symptoms of cryptococcosis depend on the location of the infection (lungs, brain, skin or other organs), but can include coughing, breathlessness, fever, nausea and vomiting34-40

AmBisome® demonstrates efficacy in HIV/AIDS patients with acute cryptococcal meningitis and in vitro fungicidal activity against cryptococcus neoformans*10,41

Man wearing red shirt looking pensive

With the threat to your at-risk patients increasing,18,23,27,42-44 learn how to suspect IFIs early so you can initiate prompt treatment with AmBisome®



*Prospective, randomised, multicentre, double-blind study in 267 patients with confirmed HIV infection and cryptococcal meningitis. Patients were randomised (ratio, 1:1:1) from multiple sites in the United States and Canada to receive either amphotericin B at 0.7 mg/kg/day (n=87), AmBisome® at 3 mg/kg/day (n=86), or AmBisome® at 6 mg/kg/day (n=94). The overall incidence of infusion-related reactions was significantly lower for both the 3 mg/kg/day and 6 mg/kg/day dosages of AmBisome® compared with conventional amphotericin B (P<0.001).41


AUBMC: American University of Beirut Medical Center.


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Date of preparation: June 2022. Job code: IHQ-AMB-0708.