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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The State of Fungus in the US - A History, Part 2

Okay, here's the answer to the Trivia Question from yesterday's blog:

The first person to develop an antifungal agent was actually a collaborative effort by two women, Rachel F. Brown, an organic chemist, and Elizabeth L. Hazen, PhD. in Bacteriology and Immunology. In 1950, their 'fungicidin' to specifically combat C. neoformans and C. albicans, was presented to the National Academy of Science. Four years later it was approved by the FDA for sale as an antifungal agent, and the name was changed to nystatin, in honor of the state in which it was discovered - New York State.

The development of other antifungal agents in the United States followed suit, with geographical, military, CDC and other opportunities influencing their need. Unfortunately, the role of antibiotics masked the importance of antifungal agents, yet had not eliminated their need completely.

Concurrently, information regarding the presence of Aspergillis and Candida in medical reports for patients who had taken antibiotics started surfacing quietly. In fact, the AMA Council on Pharmacy and Chemistry mandated pharmaceutical agencies to report on packaging the hazard of using antibiotics and the association of Candida growth. Reports of mycotic disease related to antibiotic use continued to rise into the 60's, as did reports of fungal infections in patients taking hormone therapies.

Research on antibiotic use and its correlation with fungal pathogens helped urge the formation of the first Medical Mycology Society of Americas (MMSA) in the early 1960's, and elevated credibility of the United States in medical mycology and research as one of the top countries in the world.

The first image above left is Aspergillus. The second image above right is Candida albicans.

Resources: http://www.aspergillus.org.uk/secure/articles/pdfs/MM44supplement1/17050419.pdf

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