Invasive aspergillosis is a serious cause of mortality and morbidity in immunocompromised hosts. In particular, the emergence of multidrug-resistant fungi, such as Aspergillus calidoustus, poses a concern for both doctors and patients. Rapid screening in vivo of novel antifungals is essential for discovering new treatments to combat invasive aspergillosis and improve prognosis of patients. As such, this study proposed the use of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, as a quick way to model A. calidoustus infection. Due to the dangers of working with A. calidoustus in a high school setting, A. ustus was used in experimentation. It was hypothesized that G. mellonella would be susceptible to infection by A. ustus and, thus, could be used to model A. calidoustus infection in humans. It was also hypothesized that larval mortality would be dose-dependent. Concentrations of 1 x 103, 1 x 104, and 1 x 105 spores of A. ustus per 10 µL were injected into the G. mellonella larvae, and survival was measured over 96 hours. Larval survival was found to be high, with only the larvae infected with 1 x 104 spores being significantly different from the untouched control larvae through a log-rank test, X2(1, N=10)=3.89, p=0.0486. This did not support the hypothesis that larval mortality would be dose-dependent, and it implied that G. mellonella was not a viable model for A. ustus infections. However, factors such as low sample size, low temperature, and low spore concentrations may have affected the data, so G. mellonella should not be abandoned as a model for A. calidoustus infections without further research.
"An Evaluation of Galleria mellonella as a Model for Aspergillus ustus Infections,"
Journal of the South Carolina Academy of Science: Vol. 16
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jscas/vol16/iss2/5