Omani discovery to help treat acute infections

MUSCAT, March 18 – An Omani scientist has discovered for the first time in the world a new type of fungus that causes infection in human body, especially patients with acute infections and those with immunodeficiency.
Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Hatmi, a senior specialist in the medical laboratories of the Ministry of Health, discovered this fungus with a high anti-fungal resistance and belongs to the genus Fusarium.
The results of this discovery could lead to the diagnosis and treatment of more patients, which was not possible in the past.
Infection with the currently described fungus is very serious, especially in patients with severe immune system weakness (immunocompromised). If left untreated, it might pose a risk to patients’ lives.
The discovery has been published in the Journal of Medical Mycology, a peer-review publication specialising in medical and clinical fungi.
The discovery is an outcome of joint scientific research in collaboration with researchers from the University of Amsterdam; Radboud Hospital, Nijmegen; and Westerdijk institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Dr Al Hatmi said the fungus has been identified using gene sequencing at the Genbank. This approach could determine the fungus as a novel species.
He said the fungus was deposited and recorded in two international institutions in the Netherlands and Germany. These are considered international bodies accredited for the purpose.
The experience of specialists in medical laboratories on how to deal with the detection and recognising microorganisms such as fungi, viruses and bacteria is crucial as many organisms have become unresponsive to treatment and resistant to most antibiotics.
Dr Al Hatmi is the first scientist to be chosen as member and fellow of European Confederation of
Medical Mycology, which was established at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1993.
Its purpose is to support science, medical research and international coordination of scientific and clinical activities related to European and global fungi. It also works to unite scientists specialising in medical mycology from Europe and rest of the world, mainly those interested in human medical issues related to fungal diseases.