London, UK, July 17, 2017 (House of Commons) – At a meeting of the Parliamentary and Scientific committee in the House of Commons, Professor David Denning from Manchester University called on government to review current building regulations to address the rise in asthma cases caused by a lack of ventilation in buildings. There is a direct link between a lack of ventilation and subsequent growth of moulds that can cause asthma.
Professor Denning said: “Major opportunities exist to reduce new asthma cases by improving ventilation in homes and offices, as well as improving asthma symptoms. In addition, with 120,000 to 450,000 fungal asthma sufferers in the UK, earlier recognition by GPs and specialists and a trial of antifungal therapy, major health benefits are tangible.”
“We should take the example of Scandinavia”, Professor David Denning further added. “They are using a system of heat exchange that is very effective, as households are not consuming energy, while keeping the air clean”.
The parliamentarians were also told that there are over a billion people across the world affected by fungal diseases resulting in 11.5 million life-threatening infections and over 1.5 million deaths every year.
Recent advances in diagnostics, robust screening programmes and improved access to low cost antifungal drugs could provide an unprecedented opportunity to reduce the burdens of ill health and death, especially in those with HIV/AIDS.
Professor Denning made three further requests of the parliamentarians:
1. Improved building regulations for older houses to optimise ventilation to reduce mould and condensation, commensurate with housing stock and heat conservation.
2. Ensure that any new antifungal drug for human use cannot be sprayed on crops or used in the environment.
3. To look at a code of practice greatly restricting the use of five azole antifungals in non-essential food crops, across Europe.
Notes to editors:
Professor David Denning is a practising physician at the University Hospital South Manchester (UHSM) with expertise in fungal infections, particularly aspergillosis, antifungal resistance, the treatment of fungal infection and infection in the immunocompromised patient.
He is also the president of the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections (GAFFI).
GAFFI is a charitable foundation (NGO) focused on reducing deaths and illness caused by fungal disease.
Fungal diseases are neglected worldwide by public health authorities. GAFFI efforts are directed at:
1. Identifying and publicising gaps in diagnostics and treatments for fungal diseases
2. Consulting on how healthcare could be improved through facilitating training, encouraging companies to expand their markets and recommending improvements in infrastructure
3. Estimating the burden of serious fungal diseases, country by country. Over 68 country estimates are complete, and many of these are published
4. Developing, implementing and evaluating countrywide diagnostic programs – Guatemala (fungal infections in AIDS) the first
5. Influencing national and international agencies to ‘adopt’ fungal diseases alongside existing programs including TB, microbiology, AMR, NTDs and incorporation of key generic antifungals onto the WHO Essential Medicines List.
6. Focusing diagnostic improvements for GAFFI’s priority diseases.
One of the first countries of the world where researchers suggested the generation of triazole antifungal drug resistance originates in the environment was the Netherlands which is a world leader for the production of plant bulbs, with almost nine billion bulbs, mostly tulips, exported every year. These bulbs are sold throughout the world with major markets in the US, Japan, China, EU and Russia.