Researchers have discovered, in mice, how immunity is acquired against fungal infections, for which there are currently no approved human vaccines.
A team at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, USA, gave mice a test fungal vaccine and then exposed them to a fungus that causes pneumonia.
The researchers observed that a specific type of immune T cell that produces proteins, called cytokines, were needed for immunity against the infection – and that these might be used to develop vaccines against fungal respiratory infections.
Fungal pneumonia is a respiratory infection caused, either by the inhalation of fungal spores, or the triggering of a dormant infection. Although uncommon, fungal pneumonia is particularly harmful for people with weak immune systems.