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Lack of Amphotericin B forces use of alternatives to treat black fungus in Telangana

Unofficial estimates peg the number of black fungus cases at 400 in Telangana. Of these, nearly 226 are at the ENT Koti hospital — the nodal treatment centre for the infection.

Published: 25th May 2021 07:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2021 07:30 AM   |  A+A-

Two doctors sport black ribbons while working as part of a statewide protest for their demands at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital in Hyderabad on Monday. (Photo | Vinay Madapu, EPS)

Two doctors sport black ribbons while working as part of a statewide protest for their demands at Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital in Hyderabad on Monday. (Photo | Vinay Madapu, EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: As was the case with beds, Remdesivir injections or vaccines, there is an acute shortage of the preferred medicine to treat black fungus or Mucormycosis — Amphotericin B. As a result, officials are being forced to find alternative drugs to counter the infection.

Unofficial estimates peg the number of black fungus cases at 400 in Telangana. Of these, nearly 226 are at the ENT Koti hospital — the nodal treatment centre for the infection. The other cases are at private hospitals.

The average drug supply for just the detected cases must be nearly 32,000-40,000 vials of Amphotericin B. But, only 2,000 vials have been received in two installments from the Centre until now. Hence, officials are now looking at other drugs. A senior official from ENT Hospital, Koti, said, “There is short supply of Amphotericin B — the drug of choice — at the manufacturing level itself and so we are using it judiciously. For instance, for 20 patients we treated, Amphotericin was given only for the first three days of treatment instead of seven days.

For the rest of the treatment period, we are using medicines like Posaconazole, which are abundantly available.” In private hospitals too, less than five doses are given to patients, after which they are told to procure i t themselves. Amjed Ullah Khan, from the political outfit Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), said, “Syed Asadullah, 66, contracted Mucormycosis and has been advised 20 days of medicines. He applied for the same to the DME last week, and is still waiting. While the government says there is no shortage, not even one vial has been available for the past one week.”



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