Black Fungus Drug Shortage to be Resolved Soon as Pharma Companies Ramp up Production: Govt

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The central government on Thursday said the shortage of Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat black fungus or mucormycosis patients, will be resolved soon as its production has been ramped up by the existing six pharmaceutical companies and five more firms have received new drug approval for producing it in India.

Taking to Twitter, Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed that Indian companies have also placed orders for importing six lakh vials of Amphotericin B. “We are leaving no stone unturned to smoothen the situation,” he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court had asked the Centre to inform about steps taken to import medicine used for treating black fungus which is primarily affecting Covid-19 recovered people as the drug is in shortage in the country. The court asked the Central government to file a status on present production capacity of the medicine, details of producers licensed to produce it, enhanced capacity and by when the increased capacity be able to be manufactured.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said the Centre should right now take steps to get the medicine, Amphotericin B, from wherever it is available in the world. The court was told that currently Delhi has around 200 cases of Mucormycosis (black fungus).

The Union Health Ministry has also urged states and union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst Covid-19 patients. The ministry, in a letter, said that in the recent times a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection namely mucormycosis has emerged and is reported from many states amongst Covid-19 patients, especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control.

Mucormycosis or “black fungus” usually infects people whose immune system has been compromised, causing blackening or discolouration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing blood.

Doctors believe that the use of steroids to treat severe Covid-19 could be causing the rash of cases because those drugs reduce immunity and push up sugar levels.

(inputs from agencies)

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