COVID-19-Associated Candidiasis (CAC): An Underestimated Complication in the Absence of Immunological Predispositions?

J Fungi (Basel). 2020 Oct 8;6(4):211. doi: 10.3390/jof6040211.


The recent global pandemic of COVID-19 has predisposed a relatively high number of patients to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), which carries a risk of developing super-infections. Candida species are major constituents of the human mycobiome and the main cause of invasive fungal infections, with a high mortality rate. Invasive yeast infections (IYIs) are increasingly recognized as s complication of severe COVID-19. Despite the marked immune dysregulation in COVID-19, no prominent defects have been reported in immune cells that are critically required for immunity to Candida. This suggests that relevant clinical factors, including prolonged ICU stays, central venous catheters, and broad-spectrum antibiotic use, may be key factors causing COVID-19 patients to develop IYIs. Although data on the comparative performance of diagnostic tools are often lacking in COVID-19 patients, a combination of serological and molecular techniques may present a promising option for the identification of IYIs. Clinical awareness and screening are needed, as IYIs are difficult to diagnose, particularly in the setting of severe COVID-19. Echinocandins and azoles are the primary antifungal used to treat IYIs, yet the therapeutic failures exerted by multidrug-resistant Candida spp. such as C. auris and C. glabrata call for the development of new antifungal drugs with novel mechanisms of action.

Keywords: candidemia; candiduria; mycobiome; oral candidiasis.

Publication types

  • Review