María Río, CEO of Gilead in Spain.
The increase in the number of patients with different degrees of immunosuppression has led to an increased frequency in the development of opportunistic infections such as fungal infections. These diseases currently represent a serious complication in the approach and treatment of patients who suffer from them, with invasive aspergillosis being one of the most frequent infections among patients admitted to the ICU. Likewise, the latest studies confirm high mortality rates already reaching 50 percent in pediatric patients with some type of cancer or who have received a transplant and suffer from some type of invasive fungal infection.
In this situation, Gilead Sciences has launched the RED IFI project, an international discussion forum whose main objective is to carry out a multidisciplinary review of invasive fungal infection (IFI) and improve the approach to all patients at risk. The project, which has the participation of renowned experts from Spain and Latin America in the field of these severe infections, pursues expand the knowledge of health professionals to improve care, the diagnosis and treatment of infected people.
For Isabel ruiz, doctor of the Infectious Diseases Service of the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and coordinator of the conferences held within the framework of this project, “the fungal infection exists, it will not go away and it is essential to be prepared and trained to reduce the risk of those who suffer them. Patients are living longer due to the therapies administered to treat their underlying disease and some of these treatments affect their immunity, which favors the appearance of these infections ”.
During these days, there has been a debate on how to find common points in addressing these pathologies and improving strategies and learn new techniques for the management of these diseases. Thus, emerging difficulties in the management of infectious complications and the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to achieve an optimal approach to these patients have been pointed out. As Ruiz explained, “there are still many centers that do not have multidisciplinary teams to care for these patients. Having professionals specialized in different areas is essential if we want to prevent, diagnose and treat IFIs early and, thus reduce the mortality figures that we now have”.
A decade ago these infections were mainly linked to the hematological or solid organ transplant patient, but the reality today is very different. “We are seeing more and more that IFIs can occur in patients who may have a lower degree of immunosuppression, patients with targeted treatments such as cancer or others with structural lung alterations such as chronic bronchitis. In addition, fungal infections also appear in more everyday cases such as patients taking treatment with corticosteroids or infections caused by influenza and, lately, by Covid ”, concluded the Vall d’Hebron specialist.
I Ibero-American Meeting on IFI
The RED IFI Project took place during the months of October and early December and was very well received by health professionals. The six sessions held jointly coordinated from Spain by Isabel Ruíz and from Latin America with Fernando Riera have had the Spanish participation of renowned experts from different clinical fields and specialties such as José Ramón Azanza, specialist in Pharmacology at the University Clinic of Navarra; Ángel Estella, doctor of the Intensive Medicine Service of the Jerez de la Frontera University Hospital; Rafael Zaragoza, Head of the Intensive Medicine Service of the Doctor Peset University Hospital in Valencia; Carolina G. Vidal, doctor of the Infectious Diseases Service of the Hospital Clínic i Provincial de Barcelona; Jesús Fortún, Head of the Infectious Diseases Section of the Ramón y Cajal University Hospital in Madrid and Antonio Pérez, Head of the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Service. La Paz University Hospital in Madrid.
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