Punjab CM orders ramp-up of alternate drugs for black fungus treatment

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Chandigarh, May 27 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered ramping up of stocks of alternate drugs for the treatment of mucormycosis, popularly known as black fungus, in the wake of shortage of Amphotericin drug.

Punjab has so far reported 188 cases of black fungus with 23 of them having died.

As the state has only Liposomal Amphotericin B injections in stock and just 880 more such vials expected to be received on Thursday, the Chief Minister stressed the need to strengthen alternate drug stocks, as recommended by the expert group constituted by the state government to deal with the crisis, according to a government statement here.

Singh, who chaired a COVID review meeting here, stressed the need to ensure that every patient has a chance to recover from black fungus, a disease reportedly caused by overuse of steroids in COVID patients, especially those suffering from diabetes.

The Chief Minister said along with efforts to get more of the Amphotericin drug, the state government has already made available alternate drugs - Itraconazole (4,000 tablets) and Posaconazole (500 tablets), as suggested by the expert group.

He also noted with satisfaction that the six-member expert group has begun its task of advising hospitals on the treatment protocols and the use of various drugs being supplied to them.

Health Secretary Hussan Lal said of the 188 black fungus cases, 40 were not related to coronavirus, while 148 were of COVID-19 infected persons, with 133 having been on steroid therapy and 122 on oxygen support prior to onset of mucormycosis.

As many as 154 had diabetes, 56 were immunocompromised, and 47 co-morbid. A total of 156 are currently under treatment, nine have been cured while 23 have died, he stated.

Dr K K Talwar, the state government's COVID expert group head, said help was being taken from foreign specialists to deal with the problem.

Two sessions with national and international experts had been held to establish protocols, and patients were being closely monitored with help being provided to them, he added.

Giving details of the confirmed cases of black fungus reported till date in the government hospitals, Medical Education Secretary D K Tiwari disclosed that the maximum of 16 cases had come to light at Government Medical College Patiala, followed by GMC Amritsar (10), GMC Faridkot (8) and GMC Mohali (2). PTI CHS VSD HDA

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