Dr. Rohatgi with her Phd scholar in their lab at IIT ROORKEE

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have demonstrated that vaccination using a fungal strain protein can protect against systemic candidiasis (C. tropicalis) infection in a mice model. Systemic Candidiasis refers to a group of infections caused by drug-resistant fungal species. The study by Manisha Shukla and Soma Rohatgi, working at Molecular & Translational Immunology laboratory at the Department of Biotechnology, IIT Roorkee, has been published in the American Society for Microbiology journal ‘Infection and Immunity.’

Systemic candidiasis refers to a spectrum of infections affecting blood, heart, eyes, brain, bones and many more. It is caused by yeast strains belonging to the Candida family. Common symptoms of the disease include fever and chills that do not improve with antibiotics. Candidemia can also cause septic shock and therefore may be associated with symptoms such as low blood pressure, fast heart rate, and rapid breathing. According to an estimate, it accounts for 6.51 cases per 1,000 ICU admissions that is equivalent to 90,000 cases in India. (Source:https://www.gaffi.org/india-has-one-of-the-highest-rates-of-candida-bloodstream-infection-in-the-world/)

"Due to a progressive shift towards non-albicans Candida species and the emergence of antifungal drug resistance, systemic candidiasis infections caused by Candidatropicalis species are a matter of concern, especially in tropical countries. As such, developing vaccines and alternative immunotherapies is of paramount importance” said Prof. Soma Rohatgi, chief author and Assistant Professor at IIT Roorkee.

According to lead author Manisha Shukla, “a subunit vaccine candidate can prove effective due to a variety of reasons”. The researchers have shown that Sap2-parapsilosis vaccination can improve mice survival during candidiasis by means of humoral and cellular immunity. The research also demonstrated that higher amounts of Sap2-specific antibodies are beneficial during systemic candidiasis. This research will pave the way for future studies in the development of anti-Candida vaccines.

The research was supported from funding from SRIC, IIT Roorkee; DBT Ramalingaswami Fellowship and DST SERB Grant to Prof. Soma Rohatgi.

IIT Roorkee is an institute of national importance imparting higher education in engineering, sciences, management, architecture and planning, and humanities and social sciences. Since its establishment in 1847, the Institute has played a vital role in providing technical human resources and know-how to the country.


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