Formal recognition by the WHO of the global burden of human fungal diseases
This week the World Health Organisation (WHO) published the Fungal Pathogen Priority List (FPPL) to guide research, development and public health action in tackling these pathogens. The WHO FPPL is the first global effort to systematically prioritize fungal pathogens, taking into account their public health importance and unmet research and development needs. The aim of the WHO FPPL is to drive research and policies to strengthen the global response to fungal disease and antifungal resistance.
In 2017, the WHO developed the bacterial priority pathogen list, which has been instrumental in informing research and investment decisions. This list has also become a highly valuable tool for raising awareness of antimicrobial resistance and informing antimicrobial stewardship guidance. The FPPL is likely to have a comparatively positive impact for fungal disease.
The WHO FPPL clearly highlights that the global burden of human fungal diseases receives little attention and funding, and that this underlies the paucity of quality data on fungal disease distribution and antifungal resistance patterns. The WHO states in this report that there is a need for sustainable investments in research, development and innovation, both in basic mycology research, as well as in the development of new and better antifungal medicines and diagnostics.
The MRC Centre for Medical Mycology welcomes the WHO FPPL as it highlights and supports our work in tackling the major global threat to human health caused by fungal diseases. We are grateful that two of our PIs, Prof Tom Harrison and Prof Nelesh Govender (honorary), were directly involved in the development of the FPPL.
Date: 27 October 2022