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Priyanka Vadra Questions Centre Over No Black Fungus Cases Data Since 1 Week; Writes To PM

As India's 'Black Fungus' cases rise, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra appealed to PM Modi to update the latest number of infections to date

Priyanka Gandhi, Modi


As India's 'Black Fungus' cases rise, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra appealed to PM Modi to update the latest number of infections to date. Citing that May 25 was the last date when Centre updated the total number of mucormycosis cases at 11,717, Vadra questioned as to why the Centre had stopped revealing the data. Pointing out that Centre was regularly updating the number of Amphotericin-B injections allocated to states regularly, Vadra urged Centre to publicise the same data as 'information spread awareness'.

Vadra pulls up Centre over Black Fungus data

Moreover, Vadra pointed out that 'Black Fungus' treatment was not covered under Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme, suggesting PM Modi incorporate the same. She highlighted that the treatment and the injections were costly adding an additional burden to citizens. The Congress leader has also said that most states are not receiving an adequate number of Amphotericin-B injections to treat Black fungus cases.

On Tuesday, Centre imposed restrictions on the export of Amphotericin-B, an anti-fungal drug widely prescribed for the treatment of mucormycosis or black fungus infections. According to a notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the export of the injections has been put in the restricted category, which implies that an exporter would need permission or license from the directorate for the outbound shipment of it from here on. The anti-fungal drug has already been exempted from import duties, amid supply shortage.

Black fungus in India

As of May 26, India has recorded 11,717 cases of 'Black Fungus' with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Telangana topping the list, as per the government's latest bulletin. Maharashtra has reported 2,770 cases, Gujarat has 2,859 cases, Andhra Pradesh has 768 cases, Madhya Pradesh has 752 cases, and Telangana has 744 cases as of date. 11 states have declared Black fungus as an epidemic to allow COVID patients avail treatment under various government schemes.

Centre has allotted 2,70,060 vials of Amphotericin B to States/UTs & Central Institutions from 11th May to 30th May 2021, with additional 30,100 vials released on 31 May. The Centre has advised people doctors and healthcare professionals to refrain from excessive use of steroids to treat COVID-19 patients to prevent side effects and complications such as black fungus. It has also roped in pharmaceutical manufacturers and US-based Gilead Sciences  to ramp up production of Amphotericin B.

Amid COVID surge, Mucormycosis has been witnessed in COVID patients having uncontrolled diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression by steroids, prolonged ICU stay and co-morbidities. It requires a team of microbiologists, internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, ENT specialists, ophthalmologists, dentists, surgeons, and others for treatment. The medical treatment entails installing peripherally inserted central catheter, maintaining adequate systemic hydration, infusing normal saline IV before Amphotericin B infusion and conducting antifungal therapy for 4-6 weeks with patients monitored clinically and with radio-imaging.

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