The research article on the fungus was published in the journal Fungus on Thursday. Binocular Hallur, an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology at AIMS Bhubaneswar, and the lead researcher on the study, said mucorals, a complex fungal group, are the cause of infectious diseases such as mucoromycosis. “Our newly discovered species are members of this group,” he added.
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He said there was mucomycosis in the nineteenth century, but now that many Kovid patients have been diagnosed with the fungal infection, it is being discussed worldwide. “So far we have no other cases of mycobacterium tuberculosis due to new species of fungi,” he added. Holur said Kovid, a 26-year-old patient from Orissa, came to their institute in 2018 ahead of time. He had mucomycosis. “My colleague CN Pritam, an additional professor in the ENT department, sent me samples for further analysis. When the fungus grows in the laboratory, it looks a bit different from the regular fungus that causes mucoromycosis, ”he added.
The researcher stated that the patient had no risk factor for mucoromycosis and that he was a healthy co-worker. “Typically, this fungal infection occurs in people with diabetes, steroid-taking and covid. Even the fungus looked different from other fungi under the microscope. I thought it was something new,” said Hallur.
The microbiologist said they contacted fungal infection specialists at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh with the help of his department head Vaijayantimala Mishra and AIMS Bhubaneswar director Gitanjali Batman. “PGIMER has analyzed our samples. We have both started working on it, ”he added.
The two institutes conducted DNA analysis, phylogenetic analysis and whole genome sequencing. “Finally, we found out that this is a fancy species of Cunninghamela. We named the fungus after my teacher Arunaloke Chakraborty, Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. We could not have achieved this feat without his guidance and education. So, it’s a guru south on my part before Teacher’s Day.
Ames Bhubaneswar has been designated as the Reference Center for Fungal Infections in Eastern India. The hospital will set up an advanced molecular diagnostic and research center for the fungus under the auspices of ICMR. “We have a team at our institute that works with suspected fungal infections. If anyone is having difficulty identifying the fungus or treating a patient with a deadly fungal infection, we can help them, ”he added.
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