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Black fungus: Amphotericin-B not a magical drug, has side effects, says TN health department

Meanwhile, the state government has constituted a Task Force committee chaired by Dean of Medical Education (DME) to advice the government on issues related to Mucormycosis/Black Fungus infection.

By: Express Web Desk | Chennai |
Updated: May 29, 2021 3:48:26 pm
Haryana black fungus cases, Haryana news, Manohar Lal Khattar, Khattar on Black fungus, Black fungus treatment, Indian express"We have got 6,000 injection vials. Over the next two days, we will get 2,000 vials more while we have placed an order for another 5,000 vials," Khattar said. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi/File)

Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine Dr. TS Selvavinayagam Saturday said not everyone who is infected by Mucormycosis/Black Fungus requires Amphotericin-B and added that it is not a magical drug.

On behalf of the Tamil Nadu government, a public awareness video was released to address the panic and anxiety the public have around the fungal infection.

Dr. Selvavinayagam said Mucormycosis is an existing fungal disease and not a new one that is affecting people infected by Covid-19. He said there is no need for panic as there is provision for treatment.

“The government has announced Mucormycosis as a notified disease. Medical practitioners will notify the Public Health Department if they see any signs and symptoms of black fungus in any patient. As of today (Saturday), 400 Mucormycosis cases have been notified. There is no need for fear or panic. Due to this anxiety among the public, an undue demand for Amphotericin-B is created which is not necessary,” he said.

The DPH added that it is generally said the fungal infection is caused when someone is provided oxygen treatment or steroids or if they are in treatment for a long time with comorbidities. He said though they are one of the predisposing factors, it is not true that every Covid-19 positive patient requires Amphotericin-B.

“Of the total cases recorded till now, only 57 per cent were Covid-19 positive. Only 36 per cent of them have availed oxygen treatment while 42 per cent received steroids. These are the preliminary details,” Selvavinayagam added.

Further, he said the primary motive of the department is to identify the cases before they attain the peak stage resulting in loss of eyesight.

He added that as Mucromucosis is a notified disease in the state, every case will be monitored at least every two to four weeks by the concerned institutions. Further, he added that surgical removal of the infected part is the most complete solution available and those required can be provided with the anti-fungal drug.

“More than 80 per cent of people infected by Mucormycosis can be treated normally and only a few require Amphotericin-B. The medical practitioners will identify those cases and depending on their clinical condition, the department will supply the drug to the concerned institution through Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation. But it is important to remember that Amphotericin-B is not a magical drug and there are side effects because of the drug,” he said.

Meanwhile, the state government has constituted a Task Force committee chaired by Dean of Medical Education (DME) to advice the government on issues related to Mucormycosis/Black Fungus infection. The 12-member committee consists of experts in infectious disease, ENT, ophthalmologist, Microbiology, Medicine, etc.

The government has also set up an exclusive ward for Mucormycosis with six beds at the Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate.

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