Could baker's yeast injections protect against one of the deadliest infections in the world? New research seems to indicate yes. The fungus Aspergillus is the cause of aspergillosis, the leading fungal killer of immunocompromised people. It's an infection that targets the lungs, and then spreads to other organs like the brain, kidney and liver, leading to their failure. While rare in people with healthy immune systems, in situations where that system is weakened, it can be deadly, difficult to treat, and has a habit of recurring.
And we might be able to beat it with baker's yeast. Mice were injected with once weekly loads of a dead version of the yeast for three weeks, and after that were able to survive high doses of Aspergillus, and showed reduced infection in their organs.
Not only does it provide protection against aspergillosis, but also gave some immunity against three other fungi that cause human disease – Candida, Cryptococcus and Coccidioides. If we start giving people yeast immunizations, it seems that we might have a way of stopping a huge number fungal infections.
It gave us bread and can protect against thousands of deaths every year? That's some pretty badass yeast.