Expert Warns of Potential Fungi Apocalypse: Are We at Risk?

An expert has warned that humanity might face a fungi apocalypse, echoing the chilling scenarios depicted in HBO’s hit series “The Last of Us,” starring Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey.

This alarming claim comes from Arturo Casadevall, a professor of molecular microbiology, immunology, and infectious diseases. Professor Casadevall, who works at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, asserts that the scenarios seen in the drama series aren’t purely fictional. report from News18.

“The Last of Us” portrays a world ravaged by a massive fungal epidemic, transforming infected humans into zombie-like creatures through the cordyceps fungus, which spreads via bites or spores.

Professor Casadevall, 67, has extensively studied the potential for a real-life fungal pandemic, authoring over 1,000 scientific papers on the subject. He warns that fungi pose a ‘real threat’ to humanity, a concern he elaborates on in his May 2024 book, “What If Fungi Win?” This book explores the possibility of a fungus-induced pandemic.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Casadevall stated, “Right now, we don’t know of any fungus that can turn a human into a zombie, but there’s no question in my mind that we’re likely to see dangerous new fungal pathogens in time. In fact, we are already seeing it happen.”

He attributes this looming threat to climate change. “Everything in our environment is being affected as temperatures rise,” he explained. “There’s increasing evidence that certain fungi have the potential to unleash new diseases that will harm many more humans in unprecedented ways.”

As fungi evolve and adapt to higher temperatures, they could potentially bypass our immune systems, leading to more ‘fungi-related diseases.’ Casadevall cites the example of Candida auris, a fungus first discovered in Japan in 2007 that has since spread globally. “Candida auris was unknown to medicine until 2007 when it was recovered from the ear of an individual in Japan. This may have been the first fungus to breach our thermal barriers,” he said.

Most fungi cannot survive at the body’s internal temperature of 37°C, but some are adapting to overcome this barrier. Casadevall emphasizes that although we have not yet experienced a ‘fungal pandemic,’ other species have, and humans could be next. according to News Daily.

He highlights the decimation of amphibians by a fungus that has spread worldwide as a cautionary example. “If a fungus can do that to amphibians that have been around for millions of years and which have good immune systems like we do, it is hubris to think something can’t happen to us,” he warned.

As climate change continues to alter our environment, the potential for new and dangerous fungal diseases remains a significant concern. Professor Casadevall’s research and warnings urge us to take the threat of fungal pathogens seriously and to prepare for possible future outbreaks.