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Drug-Resistant Fungi: An Emerging Challenge Threatening Our Limited Antifungal Armamentarium.

Abstract

The high clinical mortality and economic burden posed by invasive fungal infections (IFIs), along with significant agricultural crop loss caused by various fungal species, has resulted in the widespread use of antifungal agents. Selective drug pressure, fungal attributes, and host- and drug-related factors have counteracted the efficacy of the limited systemic antifungal drugs and changed the epidemiological landscape of IFIs. Species belonging to Candida, Aspergillus, Cryptococcus, and Pneumocystis are among the fungal pathogens showing notable rates of antifungal resistance. Drug-resistant fungi from the environment are increasingly identified in clinical settings. Furthermore, we have a limited understanding of drug class-specific resistance mechanisms in emerging Candida species. The establishment of antifungal stewardship programs in both clinical and agricultural fields and the inclusion of species identification, antifungal susceptibility testing, and therapeutic drug monitoring practices in the clinic can minimize the emergence of drug-resistant fungi. New antifungal drugs featuring promising therapeutic profiles have great promise to treat drug-resistant fungi in the clinical setting. Mitigating antifungal tolerance, a prelude to the emergence of resistance, also requires the development of effective and fungal-specific adjuvants to be used in combination with systemic antifungals.

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