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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 (ICUs),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.


When the fungal pathogen is unknown,* consider AmBisome® as an option when treating the next IFI – in vitro data demonstrate 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 invasive 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

With the impact of invasive aspergillosis potentially devastating the lives of the immunocompromised, it is vital to know your enemy. Arm yourself with knowledge of the causative pathogen and AmBisome®, which demonstrates in vitro fungicidal activity against major Aspergillus species, including A. fumigatus and A. flavus.19

Watch the video below to learn more.

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 are 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 and C. tropicalis.9

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%27,28
  • 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.9

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.9,41

Man wearing red shirt looking pensive

With the threat to your at-risk patients increasing18,23,27,42,44, be aware of IFIs early so you can initiate prompt treatment with AmBisome.®



*AmBisome® is indicated for the empirical treatment of presumed fungal infections in febrile neutropenic patients, where the fever has failed to respond to broad spectrum antibiotics and appropriate investigations have failed to define a bacterial or viral cause.45

**The clinical relevance of this is unknown.

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: December 2022. Job code: IHQ-AMB-0800.