Researchers Advocate for Regional Adaptation of WHO Fungal Priority Pathogens List

Researchers Advocate for Regional Adaptation of WHO Fungal Disease Priority Pathogens List | The Lifesciences Magazine

Source- global biodefense

Disparities in Fungal Priority Pathogens List

In a recent article published in The Lancet Microbe, researchers scrutinized the World Health Organization’s (WHO) fungal priority pathogens list (FPPL), revealing disparities between its rankings and the actual fungal disease burdens. The FPPL was established in October 2022 to address challenges in fungal disease diagnosis, treatment, and research. While acknowledging its significance, researchers highlighted the need for a revised prioritization list that addresses regional disparities more effectively.

Proposed Prioritization Adjustments

The study emphasizes several key fungal pathogens and their implications on global health. Mucorales, initially categorized as high-priority pathogens, emerged as a greater threat, particularly in regions like India during the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, Candida spp. infections, despite their high mortality rates, may not be fully represented in the FPPL, especially with emerging antifungal resistance. Histoplasmosis, caused by Histoplasma capsulatum, also demands attention due to its broader global distribution, necessitating improved diagnostic capacities.

Recommendations for Enhanced Prioritization

To address the limitations of the FPPL, researchers propose region-specific customization of priorities based on WHO regions. They advocate for the prioritization of four major pathogens globally: Cryptococcus, Aspergillus spp., Candida spp., and Pneumocystis jirovecii. Additionally, they suggest adjusting prioritization based on regional considerations, such as elevating the status of Coccidioides and Paracoccidioides spp. in the Americas and prioritizing Mucorales in Southeast Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. Furthermore, they highlight the importance of higher prioritization for Histoplasma spp. in the Americas and Africa, as well as Talaromyces marneffei in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.


While the FPPL represents a significant step in addressing fungal infections on a global scale, the study underscores the need for tailored prioritization to better reflect regional disease burdens. By advocating for adjustments in the FPPL based on geographical considerations, researchers aim to enhance global awareness, research efforts, and ultimately, control of fungal infections. Efforts to customize prioritization strategies are crucial steps toward mitigating the impact of fungal diseases worldwide.

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