The new £600 000 AFGrica Unit in Medical Mycology will be launched on 11 August at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine (IDM), where it will be based.
The initiative is a partnership between the IDM and the Aberdeen Fungal Group (AFG). The University of Aberdeen’s Professor Gordon Brown will lead the initiative. The unit is the world’s first international research centre set up in Africa for tackling fungal infections.
It is estimated that fungal infections kill some 1.3 million people globally every year. In sub-Saharan Africa, around 50% of people diagnosed with invasive fungal infections die from the infection. In 2008 there were a million cases of cryptococcal meningitis in patients with HIV/AIDS, resulting in more than 500 000 related deaths.
The unit will give the AFG a centre of operations in Africa where they can work in collaboration with UCT experts to establish research programmes that target priority areas in fungal diseases in Africa.