Boost for lung infection research – with new UK-Brazil partnership

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 A Brazilian University is forming a new international partnership with researchers from Manchester to carry out more research into the  fungal lung infection which causes chronic illness in  at least three million people worldwide and has a fatality of 75%. Colleagues at the Escola Paulista de Medicina-Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP) will work alongside University of Manchester’s Professor David Denning and  will examine the prevalence and treatment of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis in Brazil.

This infection is thought to affect over 17,850 people in Brazil, with 5,600 new cases every year.  But chronic pulmonary aspergillosis is rarely diagnosed or treated in Brazil, because of a lack of awareness and diagnostic testing. Follow up of patients with tuberculosis in Brazil in the 1980’s showed 21% to have evidence of  Aspergillus infection, which is similar to the UK. As well as those with tuberculosis, other patients with AIDS, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are also susceptible to this infection, so actual numbers of sufferers may be twice what is currently recorded.

 Professor Denning will lead the UK side of the new initiative, he is Director of the National Aspergillosis Centre based at University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust (UHSM). Full press release

He said: “While we treat nearly 400 UK patients with this condition; across the world, there are estimated to be about 3 million. Currently, very few are diagnosed or treated, and by five years about 75% have died. This international program will have an impact throughout Brazil and Latin America.”

Professor Arnaldo Lopes Colombo of (UNNIFESP) added: “This collaboration is of the utmost importance to Brazil in view of the huge number of undiagnosed fungal infections in the country. We aim to really understand who gets this long term, difficult to treat infection and improve our diagnostic techniques across the country.”

Prof Columbo, UNIFESP,SaoPaolo; Prof Soraya S. Smaili (Reitora (Chancellor) of UNIFESP) and Prof Denning (Manchester University)

Funded by the Sao Paolo Research Foundation with matching funds from The University of Manchester, the programme encourages scientific exchange between universities in Sao Paolo and Manchester, and will involve a study of patients from 17 hospitals in the Brazilian city.

Full press release