Dangerous drug-resistant fungi could soon lead to an epidemic that will kill plants, animals and humans, a joint study of researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Exeter, published in the Science journal, has revealed.
"The rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant pathogenic fungi and the better-publicized threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria together pose a considerable threat to disease control across diverse anthropogenic systems," the study said.
According to the researchers, this tendency is a result of extensive use of antifungal drugs in medicine and agriculture. They argued that drugs destroy only weak cultures of fungi, while strong ones survive and evolve, gaining multi-drug resistance and becoming more dangerous for living organisms than ever before.
Researchers noted that fungal infections, in particular, have an ever increasing negative impact on human lives. The global mortality rate from fungi-related diseases exceeds that from breast cancer and malaria and is comparable to the mortality from tuberculosis and AIDS.
In their research, the experts stressed the need for the development of new chemicals that can withstand this threat.
"To counter the escalating risks of fungal disease, we need to discover antifungal chemicals with new modes of action, hinder the emergence of resistance in extant chemicals by better stewardship, and develop new disease control strategies to avoid overreliance on fungicides," they concluded.