Covid side-effect: Mucormycosis on rise, govt says ramping up drug manufacturing

at 2:18 pm
Pic courtesy WHO

New Delhi (NVI) In more troubling news, a surge is being witnessed in the country in the cases of ‘Mucormycosis’, a severe fungal infection which affects lungs or sinuses of patients who recover from coronavirus.

The symptoms of the disease, also called ‘black fungus’, include pain and redness around the eyes or nose, along with headache, fever, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomits, and impact on mental health. Rising number of such cases has been noticed particularly in Maharashtra, Delhi and Gujarat.

Maharashtra, over 2000 such cases have been reported with at least 8 deaths due to Mucormycosis.

This has led to a sudden increase in the demand for Amphotericin-B medicine which is being actively prescribed by the physicians to patients suffering from Mucormycosis

In view of this, the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, the nodal ministry for the pharmaceutical industry, said today that the central government is engaging with the manufacturers to ramp up production of the drug.

The supply position is expected to improve with extra imports of this drug and increase in its production domestically, it said in a statement.

“After reviewing the stock position with the manufacturers/importers, and the demand pattern of Amphotericin B, the Department of Pharma, has on 11th May, 2021, allocated this drug amongst the States/UTs based on expected supply that will be available from May 10 to May 31, 2021,” it said.

The states have been requested to put in place a mechanism for equitable distribution of supplies amongst Government and Private hospitals and health care agencies. States have also been requested to publicise in the State the ‘Point of Contact’ for Private and Government hospitals to obtain the drug from this allocation, the Ministry said.

Further, the states have been requested that judicious use may be made of the stock that has been already supplied as well as stock that has been allocated, it said, adding the arrangements for supply will be monitored by National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA).

The infection, which can be serious, is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment. It mostly affects people who are on medication for health problems that reduces their ability to fight environmental pathogens, according to experts.

Sinuses or lungs of such individuals get affected after they inhale fungal spores from the air.

An increase in cases of mucormycosis has been witnessed among people hospitalized or recovering from Covid 19, with some requiring urgent surgery.

Usually, mucormycetes does not pose a major threat to those with a healthy immune system.