| 9.9°C Dublin

Everett in drugs call over fungal treatment

A global organisation is hoping to raise awareness of the plight of millions of people worldwide who suffer from fungal infections.

Backed by actor Rupert Everett, GAFFI (Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections) wants to raise awareness among health professionals and the public, saying cases of such infections could be halted with local access to diagnostics, anti-fungal medicines and better medical training.

Fungal infections kill at least 1.35 million patients with or following Aids, cancer, TB and asthma, and can even lead to blindness.

However, symptoms are mostly hidden and occur as a consequence of other health problems.

Everett (inset) said: "I understand from the experts that this is complicated. Only when it is too late is the diagnosis possible on clinical grounds, but even then many conditions overlap.

"The best drugs have been available in some countries for 40 to 50 years, yet not where they are now most needed."

GAFFI's founding president Dr David Denning, of the University of Manchester, said: "After TB, as many as 20pc of patients develop lung fungal infection. Fungal meningitis and pneumonia kills in excess of one million patients with Aids every year."