Tropical application of iodine as an alternative solution for dermal infection of Candida albicans

Dec 12 17:53 2016 Kalyani Rajalingham Print This Article



Candida albicans is an opportunistic human pathogen responsible for a number of diseases in immunocompromised, and immunocompetent individuals. There are a few drugs available for treatment; however, they face the issue of clinical resistance – Candida albicans can evolve to be resistant to said drugs. Herein, I suggest an alternate therapy – the use of iodine – to clear fungal population as iodine can annihilate Candida albicans in less than 30 seconds.


Candida albicans is an opportunistic human pathogen that can cause nosocomial infections. It is typically responsible for diseases such as thrush,Guest Posting vaginal yeast infections, and invasive candidiasis. Currently, there are a number of drugs available for treatment. For vaginal candidiasis, butoconazole, clotrimazole, triazole, and econazole lipogel are the drugs of choice; for mucocutaneous candida infections, fluconazole and itraconazole are used. For cutaneous candidiasis, voriconazole, and echinocandins are used; and, for oral infections, posaconazole is used (Public Health Agency of Canada). However, the drugs face the issue of resistance. Fluorinated pyrimidine analogue 5-fluorocytosine (5-FC) disrupts RNA, and DNA synthesis (Cannon et al., 2007). Polyenes (ex: amphotericin B, nystatin) forms pores in plasma membrane, and leads to oxidative damage. Azole antifungals hinder sterol biosynthesis; echinocandins hinder cell wall biosynthesis. Candida albicans has been noted to evolve resistance to fluconazole, and 5-FC (fluorinated pyrimidine analogue 5-fluorocytosine), and treatments have been noted as ineffective (Cannon et al., 2007). Resistance has been noted to evolve in mutated fungal cells. In the case of 5-FC, those fungal cells that possess a mutation that modifies the enzyme that performs the necessary conversion from 5-fluorouracil to 5-fluorouridine monophosphate become resistant (Cannon et al., 2007). Alternatively, the target gene/protein can also be mutated which will interfere will the binding of the drug to the protein of interest or overexpresses another protein of interest. Herein, I propose an alternative – iodine- to the currently used drugs.


Sodium hypochlorite (at 5%, 0.5%), iodine (2%), and potassium iodine (4%) can completely annihilate Candida albicans in less tham 30 seconds (Public Health Agency of Canada). Alternatively, in 5 minutes, chlorohexidine acetate (0.5%) can also annihilate C. albicans. Further, C. albicans has been noted to be susceptible to 70% ethanol, 0.5% ecodoil, and 1.2% sodium hypochlorite + 0.5% ecodiol (Public Health Agency of Canada). Theraud et al. (2004) stated that the following are effective fungicides: 10% iodine polyvinylpyrrolidone, 2% sodium laurylsulfate, 0.5% chlorhexidine, 1.2o sodium hypochlorite (0.38%, w/v = 3800 p.p.m.), 70% alcohol, 0.5% ecodiol, and 0.5% Ecodiol + 1.2o sodium hypochlorite. Given that sodium hypochlorite is a corrosive, and as such cannot be used on skin, for dermal infections of Candida albicans such as vaginitis, I would suggest that a tropical application of iodine could be used as an alternative. Iodine kills Candida albicans in less than 30 seconds; this treatment is the most rapid, and effective treatment (personal communication). Iodine, much like bleach, can annihilate bacterial, and fungal populations. In essence, it is a substitute for bleach that can be used tropically. An iodine treatment/wash of the affected areas will clear existing populations which would decrease density for further treatment. Immediately after application of iodine, symptoms associated with the infection such as itching are relieved (personal communication from patient). Continuous and daily treatment with iodine can relieve the patient of the symptoms associated with the infection, in this particular case, vaginitis. The treatment should be continued until the fungal population has been completely cleared, and could be complemented with drugs. Given the current problem of resistance faced by the few available drugs, and the necessity of a treatment for diseases associated with the infection, it seems quite reasonable to propose that a non-corrosive bleach-like substance – iodine – be used to control or clear dermally-populated fungal populations.




Cannon, R., Lamping, E., Holmes, A., Niimi, K., Tanabe, K., Niimi, M., and Monk, B. (2007). Candida albicans drug resistance another way to cope with stress. Microbiology 153, 3211-3217.


Public Health Agency of Canada, Candida albicans - Pathogen Safety Data Sheet.


Theraud, M., Bedouin, Y., Guiguen, C., and Gangneux, J. (2004). Efficacy of antiseptics and disinfectants on clinical and environmental yeast isolates in planktonic and biofilm conditions. Journal Of Medical Microbiology 53, 1013-1018.




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Kalyani Rajalingham
Kalyani Rajalingham

Kalyani Rajalingham BSc, MSc, GD, Medicine CR, PhD Candidate UQAM, Departement de Biologie McGill University, Department of Medicine Concordia University, Department of Biology

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