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April 5, 2011

Direct detection of antifungal resistance from Myconostica’s MycAssay™ Aspergillus Test

 Manchester, United Kingdom, April 5th 2011

 Using Myconostica’s real-time PCR assay for Aspergillus spp., MycAssay™ Aspergillus, researchers in Manchester, UK and Newark, USA, have directly detected azole resistance in people with aspergillosis, without first culturing the fungus Aspergillus on agar1. The methods are similar to those used for HIV, MRSA and influenza, but have never been applied to fungal infections previously.

 Antifungal triazole resistance rates are rising internationally, possibly related to fungicide use in agriculture and long treatment courses in patients. The triazoles itraconazole (Johnson & Johnson), voriconazole (Pfizer) and posaconazole (Merck) have annual sales of over $1bn annually. Conventional diagnosis of aspergillosis is limited by poor culture yield, and so the frequency of triazole resistance is unclear. In this work published in the prestigious US journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, the presence of Aspergillus was detected using  MycAssay™ Aspergillus in many more samples than in agar culture, and 55% were found to contain triazole resistance markers. This is an extraordinarily high rate of resistance. The authors conclude that; ”These findings have major implications for the sustainability of triazoles for human antifungal therapy”.

 The study involved analyzing phlegm from patients with allergic and chronic lung disease caused by Aspergillus; 45 of 61 (74%) were positive by MycAssay™ Aspergillus test, compared with 11% by agar culture. While 55% had a resistance marker present remarkably 6 of 8 (75%) people who had never been treated with an azole had a resistance marker.  Among 230 strains cultured in the clinical lab in 2008 and 2009 in Manchester 64 (28%) were azole resistant2.

 Commenting on these results, Dr. John Thornback, Chief Business Officer of Myconostica said: “MycAssay™ Aspergillus has again been shown to be a more sensitive test than agar culture, and the DNA product enables testing for resistance, which until now has been impossible if cultures are negative. Given the rising frequency of resistance in Aspergillus in northern Europe and the USA, this provides key data for doctors to shift antifungal therapy in the face of resistance."

 1 Denning DW, Park S, Lass-Florl C, Fraczek MG, Kirwan M, Gore R, Smith J, Bueid A,  Bowyer P, Perlin DS. High frequency triazole resistance found in non-culturable Aspergillus fumigatus from lungs of patients with chronic fungal disease. Clin Infect Dis In press.

 2 Bueid A, Howard SJ, Moore CB, Richardson MD, Harrison E, Bowyer P, Denning DW. Azole antifungal resistance in Aspergillus fumigatus - 2008 and 2009. J Antimicrob Chemother 2010;65:2116-8.

  

About Myconostica Ltd. – myconostica.co.uk

Myconostica Ltd, a UK-based medical diagnostic company specialises in rapid molecular diagnostic tests for life-threatening fungal infections. Traditional methods of the detection of fungal infections are well documented as being relatively insensitive and slow.  Tests provided by Myconostica aim to allow healthcare professionals to rapidly identify patients infected thus enabling clinicians to prescribe appropriate drug therapy.

Myconostica is developing and commercialising a portfolio of real-time molecular diagnostic tests for life-threatening fungal infections. Over 10 million people are at risk of these infections each year in Europe and North America alone.

  

For further information please contact:

Myconostica Ltd.
Heidi Wahlefeld-Moghimi
Heidi.Wahlefeld@myconostica.co.uk

Tel: +44 161 998 7239