Invasive aspergillosis (IA), a fungal disease acquired from environment and associated with a high morbidity and mortality rate, is an increasing challenge for management of immunocompromised patients. The research project of "EBGA Network" (European Group for research on Biotypes and Genotypes of Aspergillus) aims at :
- a better understanding of the epidemiology of IA through the biodiversity and the genetic polymorphism of Aspergillus. fumigatus,
- developing an optimal strategy of prevention of this infection and designing prophylaxis recommendations at the European level.
"EBGA Network" regroups seven teams from five European countries taking advantage of the participants' expertise in medical mycology, epidemiology, molecular biology, genetic, antifungals and management of a fungal culture collection. In this field, the task of EBGA Network is : i) to determine if the most discriminating characterization of Aspergillus fumigatus infecting strains can contribute to our understanding of the epidemiology of IA, ii) to define the role of the molecular tools in the epidemiological investigation of nosocomial and non-nosocomial Aspergillus infections and to clarify the optimal conditions to suppress the indoor sources of the fungal spores, ii) to determine if the current susceptibility level of fungal isolates to systemic antifungals (existing and under development) can be used to define chemoprophylaxis rules. Genotypic and phenotypic characteristics of several hundreds of A.fumigatus clinical and environmental stains isolated from 100 to 120 well-documented cases of - IA in different immunosuppression types (haematological malignancies, solid organ transplants, long-term corticosteroid therapy, AIDS) - and of bronchopulmonary colonization (lung recipients) will be investigated using several reliable molecular methods, standardized tests of susceptibility to antifungals and to disinfectants and statistical analysis. Then a comprehensive strategy of prevention of IA will be designed, in collaboration with medical experts, European scientific groups specialized in management of fungal infections and also with patients' associations.