UCLA researchers in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology have identified a prognostic biomarker for Coccidioidomycosis.
Coccidioidomycosis, also known as valley fever, is an infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides. Infection of coccidioidomycosis usually occurs due to inhalation of the arthroconidial spores after soil disruption. Majority of people infected with coccidioidomycosis have minimal to no symptoms, but infected individuals, particularly those with a weakened immune system, who do not recover from the initial acute infections may develop a chronic infection. Chronic coccidioidomycosis infection can take the form of chronic lung infection, which may progress to widespread disseminated infection, affecting the tissues lining the brain, soft tissues, joints and bone, and it is responsible for most of the morbidity and mortality.
Coccidioidomycosis diagnosis relies on a combination of radiographic imaging and laboratory tests detecting fungal antigen or host antibody produced against the fungus. However, this antibody-, antigen-based test requires that sufficient time has passed for the body to recognize and respond to the fungus, which may delay the treatment.
Researchers at UCLA have identified a protein biomarker for Coccidioidomycosis. Measurement of this particular biomarker in plasma, serum, or other body fluids may help predict the extent of the spread of coccidioidomycosis infection, or to identify individuals who have low or high risk of dissemination of coccidioidomycosis. Thus, individuals at high risk could be treated at an early stage of infection, reducing the risk of dissemination.
Prognosis of Coccidioidomycosis
Allows identification of infected individuals at early stage of infection
The biomarker has been validated in a clinical study on a group of ethnically and racially diverse adults.