Maharashtra-based Genetic Life Sciences on Thursday began manufacturing Amphotericin B Emulsion injections, which are used for treating mucormycosis or black fungus. Cases of mucormycosis, also known as black fungus, a serious infection, have been found in COVID-19 patients in various states.
The shortage of medicines to treat this new disease has led to several deaths across India.
According to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s office, it was being produced by only one company so far. The injection is priced at Rs 1200 each and the distribution to begin from Monday.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also instructed all concerned officials to arrange the drug from anywhere in the world on a war footing.
“The PM had instructed officials to get this drug from anywhere it is available in the world. Indian missions across the world have been involved in securing supplies of this drug. It has been achieved with help of Gilead Sciences in USA,” the sources told news agency ANI.
Mucormycosis, a fungal infection being found in COVID-19 patients with uncontrolled diabetes and prolonged intensive care unit (ICU) stay, may turn fatal if uncared for.
In COVID-19 patients with diabetes and immuno-suppressed individuals, one must suspect of mucormycosis if there is sinusitis, one-side facial pain or numbness, blackish discoloration over the bridge of the nose or palate, toothache, blurred or double vision with pain, skin lesion, thrombosis, chest pain and worsening respiratory symptoms, the centre in the advisory stated.
Major risk factors for this disease include uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay, malignancy and voriconazole therapy, the ICMR-health ministry advisory stated.
To prevent the disease, blood glucose level should be monitored post-COVID discharge and also in diabetic patients; steroids should be used judiciously in correct timing, dose and duration; clean sterile water should be used in humidifiers during oxygen therapy; and antibiotics and antifungal medicines should be used correctly, it said.
The disease can be managed by controlling diabetes, discontinuing immunomodulating drugs, reducing steroids and extensive surgical debridement- to remove all necrotic materials, according to the advisory.
Medical treatment includes installing peripherally inserted central catheter, maintaining adequate systemic hydration, infusion of normal saline intravenously before Amphotericin B infusion and anti-fungal therapy for at least six weeks besides monitoring the patient clinically with radio imaging for response and to detect disease progression, it said.