Cryptococcosis is an important systemic mycosis that threatens the lives of humans and animals. The disease is caused by two species of the genus Cryptococcus: Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. The diagnosis of cryptococcosis is made through microscopy, fungal culture followed by biochemical tests, and detection of the cryptococcal capsular antigen (CrAg). Despite the existence of an established diagnostic protocol, the search for new diagnostic tests is necessary due to the high incidence of the disease, with estimates of approximately 1 million cases of cryptococcal meningitis per year and more than 600,000 deaths in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the potential for C. gattii to cause the disease in immunocompetent individuals, and the disease’s rapid worldwide dissemination. With the development of biotechnology, synthetic peptides have opened up new possibilities as a source of pure epitopes and molecules for the diagnosis of various diseases, based on the detection of circulating antibodies. Synthetic peptides can also be used for the development of vaccines. Studies on Leishmaniasis, Chagas disease, paracoccidioidomycosis, tuberculosis, and, more recently, on cryptococcosis, among others, have shown that this approach shows potential for the early diagnosis of the disease, thus reducing the morbi-lethality of individuals affected by this infection and ultimately changing their prognosis.
Part of the book: Fungal Pathogenicity