Over 15 per cent of all critically ill patients who end up in intensive care with severe influenza or Covid-19 additionally develop aspergillosis, a pulmonary fungal infection. This doubles their mortality rate. A UZ Leuven and KU Leuven trial with international partners has revealed that multiple dysfunctions of the immune response lie at the basis of higher susceptibility to fungal infections.
“In tissue stainings, we also saw that the corona or influenza virus affects the epithelium of the lungs. This is the layer of cells that lines the respiratory tract and lung tissue, which forms the first barrier against infections. For Covid-19, we were able to show that specifically in the locations where the virus affects the epithelium, the fungus also penetrates the tissue.”