Black fungus spreading, Centre allocates additional 23,680 vials of Amphotericin-B to states/UTs

The allocation has been made based on the total number of patients which is around 8,848 across the country.

Published: 22nd May 2021 03:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2021 09:10 AM   |  A+A-

A health expert examines test reports of a patient to detect black fungus

A health expert examines test reports of a patient to detect black fungus. (File photo| PTI)

NEW DELHI: NEW DELHI: Coming out for the first time on the total number of black fungus cases in the country, the Centre on Saturday said 8,848 persons have been infected across the country. In view of the surge of mucormycosis cases, the government has sent over 23,000 additional vials of a key drug used in treatment of the fungal infection to the affected states, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertlisers DV Sadananda Gowda said.

The government admitted that drugs used to treat this disease are limited in supply and its production is being augmented. “Amphotericin B was available in the country in limited supply. Its availability and supply is now being increased."

The Ministry of Pharma is coordinating with the Ministry of Health for providing licence to five additional manufacturers. Existing manufacturers are working towards increasing production capacity,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry, at a Covid-19 briefing.

According to official data, Gujarat has reported the highest of 2,281 cases and it has been allocated 5,800 vials. Maharashtra, the second worstaffected state, has been given 5,090. Andhra Pradesh will receive 2,300 for 910 patients. Telangana with 350 cases has been allocated 890 vials.

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At the press briefing, the government said irrational and uncontrolled use of steroids on Covid-19 patients has led to the fungal infection. “Steroids are wonder drugs that help save lives. But when doses are given in an irrational manner, steroids start having a negative impact instead of helping the patient. One of these negative impacts is being seen in the form of black fungus. Such use of steroids can also complicate existing diabetes,” said Dr VK Paul, Member (health), Niti Aayog.

Asked if black fungus is a new disease that has come to light during the Covid pandemic, Paul said the infection existed even in pre-Covid times.

“It is an uncommon illness that primarily affects the diabetic, but it has not spread in the form of an outbreak. Covid-19 did not start black fungus.” Mucormycosis is a rare fungal disease commonly detected in the Covid-19 patients who are in the recovery phase.

The disease is caused by organisms called mucormycetes, which enter the body through breathing or skin injuries.

These are naturally present in soil and decaying organic matter, but once inside humans, they can infect air pockets behind the forehead, nose, cheekbones and between the eyes and teeth. Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka which are among the states that have been hit hard by the infection, have been given 1830, 1780 and 1270 vials. Delhi, which has reported 197 cases of the infection , will receive 670 vials.


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