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Application of MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry to identify classical and emerging agents of Fusarium spp

Grant number: 21/10364-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2021
Effective date (End): September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Biology and Physiology of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Anderson Messias Rodrigues
Grantee:Maria Leticia Lemos Silva
Host Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/27265-5 - Molecular epidemiology and genomic perspectives on the evolution and spread of emerging fungal pathogens, AP.JP


Blindness caused by ocular fungal infection affects more than 1 million adults and children worldwide because the proper tools are not available for rapid diagnosis and treatment. Human keratitis is still the most common infection by Fusarium species, occurring primarily in the warmer climates of India, China, and Brazil. Therefore, the diagnosis of Fusarium infections remains a severe problem. The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Escola Paulista de Medicina (Unifesp), a partner in this proposal, received, between 1975 and 2017, ~15,182 requests for fungal culture with positivity of 6%, being Fusarium spp. responsible for ~54% of the casuistry. Diagnosis is based on the recovery of the agent from clinical specimens. Late diagnosis has a negative impact on the clinical outcome of fusariosis and may progress to blindness depending on the severity of the disease. Emerging technologies such as mass spectrometry and molecular biology enable detection and quantification of pathogen load with new speed, sensitivity, and simplicity of use. The application of mass spectrometry (MALDI-ToF) for fungal identification is revolutionary for clinical microbiology, providing rapid identification with minimal sample preparation at potential cost savings. Our goal is to standardize and apply mass spectrometry to speciate clinical isolates of Fusarium spp. from patients with a clinical diagnosis of infectious keratitis at Hospital São Paulo (HSP) and the Dept. of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Unifesp.(AU)

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