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Research centre tackling fungal infections

Press Association logoPress Association 19/12/2016

A centre described as the world's first international base for tackling deadly fungal infections is being set up in South Africa with the help of UK-based researchers.

Scientists at the University of Aberdeen are establishing the STG600,000 ($A1 million) centre at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Fungal infections kill around 1.3 million people around the world each year, with the majority of deaths happening in Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

In that part of the world, around half of the people diagnosed with invasive fungal infections die as a result, claiming 600,000 to one million lives annually.

The Scottish university has announced that its Aberdeen Fungal Group (AFG), is to establish the world's first research centre focused on tackling these diseases in Africa.

The University of Aberdeen AFGrica Unit will be based at UCT's Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, headed by Professor Valerie Mizrahi.

University bosses said the unit will give the group a centre of operations in Africa where they can work with UCT experts to establish research programs.

Professor Gordon Brown of AFG, who is leading the set-up of the unit, said: "Fungal infections are understudied and under-diagnosed compared with other infectious diseases, despite their contribution to so many deaths every year.

"Fungal infections kill more people in Africa than anywhere else on the planet. The AFGrica Unit is a unique opportunity to address the urgent need to improve basic knowledge and clinical management of fungal infections in Africa."

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