Simple baker's yeast may hold the key to a vaccine for life-threatening fungal infections, a study suggests.
Scientists found that injecting mice with the microbial leavening agent protected them against the deadly fungal disease aspergillosis.
The work could lead to the development of a human anti-fungus vaccine, experts believe.
Researchers in the US gave mice three injections of dead Saccharomyces, or baker's yeast, one week apart.
Vaccinated mice whose immune systems had been primed by the injections were able to survive high doses of Aspergillus, the organism responsible for aspergillosis.
Mice that were not killed by the normally fatal disease also showed reduced levels of infection in their organs.
The findings are published today in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.
Aspergillosis can be a killer in humans with weak immune systems. The fungal spores are inhaled and may lead to a serious lung infections.
Lead scientist Dr David Stevens, said: "Our results suggest that the protective component of the yeast is in the cell wall. What's more, the simple preparation we used has been shown by us to also protect against infection due to three other fungi that cause human disease."