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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Aug;87(15):5950-4.

Treatment of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia with 1,3-beta-glucan synthesis inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Biochemical Parasitology, Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ 07065.


Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia is a major cause of death in AIDS patients in the United States. The presently available treatments have limited use due to a high incidence of adverse reactions. Therefore, there is an urgent need for a safer method for treatment and prevention of this disease. Recent evidence has suggested that P. carinii is related to fungi and that the wall of the cyst form contains 1,3-beta-glucan as a major constituent. Based on this, several proposed 1,3-beta-glucan synthesis inhibitors were evaluated for their ability to control P. carinii pneumonia in vivo. Compounds from two classes of 1,3-beta-glucan synthesis inhibitors, the echinocandins and papulacandins, were found to be effective against P. carinii.

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