Health & Fitness

Black fungus drug shortage worries doctors

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By B. Kishan Singh

Hubballi: In the absence of the main anti-fungal drug ‘Liposomal Amphotericin-B’, the doctors treating mucormycosis or black fungus-infected patients are literally feeling like warriors in a war field without weapons.

The dearth of Amphotericin-B, the main drug which will be used to treat black fungus is tying the hands of the doctors in the effective treatment of the patients. The doctors say they can’t do much without this drug.

“This is the main drug we need in the treatment of the patients,” said one of the doctors who is treating mucormycosis patients in his hospital.

Another doctor who is a surgeon told ‘Hubli Express’ that the drug is the gold standard treatment for mucormycosis, removing infected tissue to prevent the spreading of infection further are the parts of the treatment along with antifungal drugs, the treatment is the combination of both surgery and antifungal treatment.

Doing just ‘surgical debridement’ is of no use. This is a serious and very rare fungal infection that is surging in the second wave of Covid infection, the doctor said.

He added that each patient needs at least 200 mg/300 mg of Amphotericin-B per day, each vial of 50 mg costs anywhere between Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,000.

Dr Jagadish Tubachi, a head and neck oncosurgeon, founder of Hubli Super Specialty Hospital told that his hospital is treating 54 patients affected with mucormycosis of which four were active Covid positive patients availing treatment and remaining were post Covid patients, he said.

Dr Tubachi told that he operates 5-6 patients per day, but the hospital needs antifungal drug Amphotericin-B for treatment. The doctor informed that on Friday he placed an order for the injection on KPME portal. He hoped that the hospital gets the drug at the earliest.

Dr Ravindra Gadag, Head of the ENT department in KIMS told that around 70 patients admitted at the KIMS hospital so far and they are operating 3-4 patients every day. Dr Gadag said that they have created two separate wards for the treatment of these patients.

He said “ We have started treating patients in the first week of May itself, then the drug was available and that was given to the patients. From the last few days the drug is not available, it will be given to the patients as and when it will be made available. As of now, patients are being taken care that they should not suffer secondary infection and they are being given supportive treatment.”

Dharwad Deputy Commissioner Nitesh Patil told that private hospitals need to indent the drug online through KPME portal. The district administration would extend all the help to provide the drug to the hospitals once they place the order, he said.

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