According to Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, over 300 cases of Mucormycosis, a fungal infection common among people who have recovered from COVID-19, have been recorded in the Pune district also expressed concern about the availability of treatment drugs.
Mr Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of the district, told reporters after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in Pune that the matter had been brought to the centre’s attention.
“In Pune, there are over 300 cases of Mucormycosis, or black fungus, with patients from other districts. However, the antifungal drug Amphotericin B is in short supply. We need 1,800 vials a day because each patient needs six injections a day. Unfortunately, the supply does not match the demand,” according to the Deputy Chief Minister. “The Maharashtra government approached pharmaceutical firms, but was told that the antifungal drug Amphotericin B had been taken over by the federal government”, he added.
“During the Prime Minister’s meeting with state district collectors, the state government requested the drug and informed him of the shortage; hopefully, the situation will improve and drug supply will meet demand,” Mr Pawar said.
Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases in the district decreases daily, and the number of patients being discharged is growing. The rate of infection in rural areas remains a concern.
“A global tender has been launched by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). During our discussions with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech, we learned that development will be ramped up shortly,” he said.
Mr Pawar said that the state has decided to raise oxygen production by 3,000 metric tonnes and that factories will be given incentives to set up oxygen plants in remote areas as part of their preparedness for the third wave of the pandemic.
Mucormycosis, an increasing danger
According to records, the incidence of black fungus is steadily increasing in India, as is the death toll. It’s being dubbed a ‘pandemic inside a pandemic’ by medical experts.
Mucormycosis, or black fungus, is a complication of a fungal infection. This is a condition that is generally uncommon but has the potential to be fatal.
The Center has asked states to make it a notifiable disease. It’s also taking measures to resolve a shortage of Amphotericin B, the disease-fighting medication.
Infections with the black fungus have been found in Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, and Bihar. Although some states have made it a reportable disease, others, such as Rajasthan, have declared it an epidemic.
People are infected by fungal spores that float about in the atmosphere. The fungus may also be contracted when it enters the skin through a cut, burn, or other forms of skin trauma.
When the fungus comes into contact with a body part, it may adhere to it and then move inward through the nose, sinuses, or lungs. Local infections may occur if the fungus enters through a cut or a burn. However, if it enters through the sinus, it can damage the eyes and, ultimately, the brain, resulting in death.
Over 7,000 people have been infected with the disease so far, with over 200 deaths. The state with the most Mucormycosis cases is Maharashtra, followed by Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.