Candida auris, a species of fungus that causes candidiasis in humans and has attracted international attention since it was discovered in 2009 because of its high resistance to drugs and antibiotics of all kinds, could strongly benefit from global warming according to a new study appeared on mBio.
It would be the first case of a fungal disease that substantially emerges due to climate change, but this is quite difficult to prove. However the argument that the researchers behind this study made seems linear and logical: as the global climate warms up, some microorganisms, including Candida auris, adapt to higher temperatures and this adaptation turns out to be an advantage to creep into the human body, according to Arturo Casadevall, researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and author of the study.
One of the factors that would support this theory lies in the fact that this fungus appeared substantially in three different continents almost simultaneously: India, South Africa and South America, regions certainly not geographically connected. Evidently something must have happened in a period of time that can be considered as short so that this micro-organism would expand so uncontrollably causing diseases in humans. This is where ongoing climate change comes into play.
To support the theory there is also the fact that fungal infections are not so widespread in humans, compared to those of bacterial type, for example, because most fungi cannot withstand the high temperatures of our body. The same temperature of our body is one of the mechanisms developed in human evolution precisely to counteract fungal diseases.
By performing various analyzes concerning the thermal susceptibility of Candida auris, the researchers found that the latter has evolved in recent years to withstand higher temperatures than most other fungal microorganisms. This means that the problems, over the course of this century, with regard to fungal infections, can only increase, as Casadevall himself states: “Global warming will lead to the selection of fungal lineages that are more thermally tolerant, so that be able to violate the thermal restriction zone of mammals.”