The Taiwan Mycology Reference Center (TMRC) aims to establish a friendly website, provide information on fungal infections, hold relevant training courses and seminars, and create mutual communication platforms for sharing information, and provide services related to fungal infections. The goal is to assist in the prevention and treatment of fungal infections in medical clinics, thereby improving the healthy living quality of people.
There are about 1,000 million cases of skin infections worldwide. Fungi not only cause local epidermal infections, but also cause disseminated systemic infections in patients with impaired immune system, and even contribute to about 1,350,000 deaths per year. At present, although the types of antifungal drugs have increased significantly compared with those of 20 or 30 years ago, they are still insufficient and have side effects after use. What is even needed more attention is that drug-resistant pathogens increase with the use of drugs in large quantities. Furthermore, the problem of fungal infection not only increases the number of hospital stays, but also the burden of social and medical costs. Therefore, how to prevent fungal infection is an urgent task.
Environmental climate and medical policies of different areas have their own unique features. Thus, the epidemiology data of other countries may not reflect the situations in Taiwan. We have to conduct national surveillance to timely identify potential issues and detect emerging challenges in Taiwan. The prevalence of fungal infection in each hospital in Taiwan varies greatly. For medical technologists in hospital laboratories, identifications and drug susceptibility testing for fungi may not be as familiar as those for bacteria. To fulfill the mission of National Health Research Institutes, two national longitudinal surveys, Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance of Yeasts (TSARY) and Taiwan Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance of Molds (TSARM) were launched in 1999 and 2016, respectively. Six and two rounds of TSARY and TSARM, respectively, have been carried out, and the results of the distribution and drug susceptibilities of isolates have been published in international journals. In this digital-generation, in order to let the people, especially those involved in managing fungal infections, quickly access to the information related to fungal infections, experts and associations in Taiwan work together to form Taiwan Mycology Reference Center. First of all, a friendly website has been established to provide and update information related to fungal infections, and to undertake the maintenance of the website for the analysis of the molecular epidemiology of Candida tropicalis for global use.
The center also organizes educational courses, seminars, and symposia on a regular basis and as needed to promote understanding fungus-related information and test in medical-related laboratories in Taiwan, thereby enhancing medical care for patients. In addition, the center provides services, such as isolation and identification of fungi, susceptibility testing of commonly used antifungal drugs, and antifungal efficiency of new compounds, and in vivo animal models. Furthermore, the center also promotes the concept of “One Health” to improve health for human beings.