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, amid a shortage of the Amphotericin drug.
Punjab has so far reported 188 cases of Black Fungus with 23 deaths due to it.
As the state has only Liposomal Amphotericin B injections in stock and just 880 more such vials are expected to be received today, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to strengthen alternate drug stocks as recommended by the expert group constituted by the state government to deal with the crisis, a government statement said.
Amarinder Singh, who chaired a COVID review meeting in Chandigarh, stressed on 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 vials of the Amphotericin drug, the state government has already made available drugs – Itraconazole (4,000 tablets) and Posaconazole (500 tablets) alternate, as suggested by the expert group.
He also noted 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.
Punjab Health Secretary Hussan Lal said of the 188 Black Fungus cases, 40 were not related to coronavirus, while 148 were in COVID-19 infected persons, with 133 in patients on steroid therapy and 122 in those on oxygen support prior to onset of mucormycosis.
As many as 154 had diabetes, 56 were immuno-compromised, and 47 co-morbid. 156 patients are currently under treatment, nine have recovered while 23 died, he stated.
The state government’s COVID expert group head Dr KK Talwar 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 DK Tiwari disclosed that a maximum of 16 cases have come to light at Government Medical College (GMC) Patiala, followed by GMC Amritsar (10), GMC Faridkot (8) and GMC Mohali (2).