Antifungal drugs: New insights in research & development

Pharmacol Ther. 2019 Mar;195:21-38. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2018.10.008. Epub 2018 Oct 19.


The need for better antifungal therapy is commonly accepted in view of the high mortality rates associated with systemic infections, the low number of available antifungal classes, their associated toxicity and the increasing number of infections caused by strains with natural or acquired resistance. The urgency to expand the range of therapeutic options for the treatment of fungal infections has led researchers in recent decades to seek alternative antifungal targets when compared to the conventional ones currently used. Although new potential targets are reported, translating the discoveries from bench to bedside is a long process and most of these drugs fail to reach the patients. In this review, we discuss the development of antifungal drugs focusing on the approach of drug repurposing and the search for novel drugs for classical targets, the most recently described gene targets for drug development, the possibilities of immunotherapy using antibodies, cytokines, therapeutic vaccines and antimicrobial peptides.

Keywords: Antifungal immunotherapy; Drug discovery and development; Drug targets; Essential genes; Rational drug design; Systemic mycoses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use
  • Drug Development
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Mycoses / therapy*
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Biological Products
  • Vaccines