Strange Science: Superbug Yeast

Candida auris in a petri dishScientists are currently faced with a yeast that is behaving like a bacteria, making it difficult to fight with the drugs currently available.

Candida auris is a yeast and a fungus, but its behavior is atypical. Normally yeasts need warm, moist spaces to thrive. This particular yeast can thrive outside of the body, on skin and cold surfaces. This ability to survive outside of its original host’s body means that it can be passed on to other people, and can spread rapidly in a locale like a hospital. Thus, scientists have classified its behavior as more similar to a bacteria, which can do the same thing.

The fact that this yeast resists many of the standard antifungals also makes it difficult to deal with. Past research has not focused heavily on developing new antifungals because there has not been much of a need, and the standard antifungals could deal with most fungal outbreaks. Candida auris defies this expectation.

The current best practices in fighting this superbug yeast include extra attention to cleanliness in a setting where it could be spread. You can read more about it here.

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