Delhi grapples with black fungus drug shortage as cases rise

World Monday 24/May/2021 17:08 PM
Delhi grapples with black fungus drug shortage as cases rise

New Delhi: Delhi is facing a shortage of a drug used to treat black fungus or mucormycosis as the number of such cases has reached nearly 500 in the national capital, said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday.

Addressing the reporters here, Kejriwal said: "The cases of black fungus in the national capital are on surge. Nearly 500 cases have been reported so far. Due to the rise in the number of black fungus cases, there is a shortage of injections used in the treatment of this disease."

Currently, Amphotericin-B injection is being used to treat black fungus. COVID-19-associated mucormycosis affects patients initially in the nose but the fungus can then spread into the brain, and can often only be treated by major surgery removing the eye or part of skull and jaw.

Three hospitals -- LNJP, GTB and Rajiv Gandhi -- in the national capital have been set up to treat patients diagnosed with black fungus. However, these hospitals do not have sufficient injections to treat patients.

Cornering the Centre over the shortage of drug supply, he said: "The Central government gives injections to different states but there is an acute shortage of the drug market. Even yesterday, Delhi did not get injections. How can we treat black fungus patients without medicines?"

"Nearly 4 to 5 injections are required to be given to a patient in a day. As there are about 500 patients suffering from black fungus in Delhi, 2,000 injections are required on a daily basis. However, we are getting just 400 to 500 injections only from the central government," he added.

States across India have begun declaring black fungus an epidemic as cases of the fatal rare infection shoot up in patients recovering from COVID-19.

Kejriwal on May 20 had said the government will declare black fungus an epidemic if the need arises and appealed to hospitals to use steroids in COVID treatment in controlled manner.

"We will declare black fungus situation in Delhi an epidemic if the need arises...I want to appeal to all hospitals and doctors to use steroids in controlled amount. The patients need to control their sugar levels. Mixture of steroids and (blood) sugar is causing black fungus," Kejriwal told the media here.