Invasive fungal infections kill about 1.5 million people in 3 million cases each year,
more than are killed by malaria or tuberculosis. That half of the patients who enter a hospital with an invasive fungal infection in their blood die anyway makes it a medical crisis that isn't going away.
Amphotericin is the most effective broad-spectrum antifungal drug available, but its use is limited by its toxicity to human cells. Scientists have long sought to make amphotericin less toxic, but have been hindered by an obvious problem: Because it is so hard to study, no one knew exactly how it worked.