Tihana Bicanic (Lead Convenor)
Objectives of the working group are to:
1) promote interactions between scientists and clinicians working in the field of AIDS-related mycoses
2) maintain the momentum of the action plan developed at the 2013 EMBO-workshop on AIDS-related
3) lobby various agencies to increase funding for research and treatment of AIDS-related fungal infections
The working group organized a hugely successful 2nd EMBO Conference in AIDS-related mycoses, attended by over 100 researchers from a very broad global representation at the University of Cape Town in South Africa in July 2016 (See photo below of participants).
In addition to EMBO and ISHAM, we received support from the Wellcome Trust as well as raising sponsorship from pharma and diagnostic companies and South African government and research societies, successfully sponsoring all 40 speakers plus 29 students from African Universities. Major topics discussed were epidemiology and public health, improving diagnosis, host-pathogen interactions, immunology, drug resistance, treatment strategies, new antifungal drugs and vaccines for the major AIDS-related mycoses including cryptococcosis, pneumocystosis, histoplasmosis and penicilliosis. Key highlights in fundamental research included genomics-based studies of Cryptococcal evolution and resistance in humans, studies detailing aspects of metabolic adaptation of Cryptococcus neoformans and Talaromyces marneffei in the host, and the latest discoveries in understanding the innate and adaptive immune responses to Pneumocystis. On the clinical side, highlights were the development and implementation of improved diagnostic tests to better ascertain the public health burden of the AIDS-related mycoses, as well as development of and access to novel antifungal drugs and regimens suitable for resource-poor settings. A further meeting is planned for 2019 in Cape Town.
Key goals identified for the next 3 years are:
1. Better collaborative working structures for basic scientists and clinical researchers to accelerate translational medicine.
2. Better diagnostics and improved surveillance.
3. Access to established drugs, as well as development of new drugs and vaccines.
4. Consolidation and extension of consortia for the delivery of multi-centre clinical trials.
5. Extension of current advocacy groups and public engagement.