The limited number of antifungals and the rising frequency of azole-resistant Candida species are growing challenges to human medicine. Drug repurposing signifies an appealing approach to enhance the activity of current antifungal drugs. Here, we evaluated the ability of Pharmakon 1600 drug library to sensitize an azole-resistant Candida albicans to the effect of fluconazole. The primary screen revealed 44 non-antifungal hits were able to act synergistically with fluconazole against the test strain. Of note, 21 compounds, showed aptness for systemic administration and limited toxic effects, were considered as potential fluconazole adjuvants and thus were termed as “repositionable hits”. A follow-up analysis revealed pitavastatin displaying the most potent fluconazole chemosensitizing activity against the test strain (ΣFICI 0.05) and thus was further evaluated against 18 isolates of C. albicans (n = 9), C. glabrata (n = 4), and C. auris (n = 5). Pitavastatin displayed broad-spectrum synergistic interactions with both fluconazole and voriconazole against ~89% of the tested strains (ΣFICI 0.05–0.5). Additionally, the pitavastatin-fluconazole combination significantly reduced the biofilm-forming abilities of the tested Candida species by up to 73%, and successfully reduced the fungal burdens in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model by up to 96%. This study presents pitavastatin as a potent azole chemosensitizing agent that warrant further investigation.


This is the published version of Eldesouky, H.E., Salama, E.A., Li, X. et al. Repurposing approach identifies pitavastatin as a potent azole chemosensitizing agent effective against azole-resistant Candida species. Sci Rep 10, 7525 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64571-7

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