With as many as 188 cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) reported so far in the state, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered ramp-up of stocks of alternate drugs to treat the disease, in view of the shortage of Amphotericin, making Punjab the first state in the country to make effective use of alternative medicines to treat the disease.With only Liposomal Amphotericin B injections in the stock, and just 880 more Liposomal expected to be received today, the Chief Minister stressed the need to strengthen alternate drug stocks, as recommended by the Expert Group constituted by his government to deal with the crisis.Stressing 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 that along with efforts to get more of the Amphotericin drug, the state government has already made available the alternate drugs - Itraconazole (4000 tablets) and Posaconazole (500 tablets), as suggested by the Expert Group.
He also noted with satisfaction that the 6-member Expert Group constituted has begun its task of advising hospitals on the treatment protocols and the use of various drugs being supplied to them.Health Secretary Hussan Lal said of the 188 cases, 40 were not related to Covid, while 148 were of Covid infected persons, with 133 having been on steroid therapy and 122 on Oxygen support prior to onset of mucormycosis. As many as 154 had diabetes, 56 were immunocompromised, and 47 comorbid. A total of 156 are currently under treatment, 9 have been cured while 23 have died.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 set protocols, and patients were being closely monitored and organised 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 the maximum of 16 cases had come to light at GMC Patiala, followed by GMC Amritsar (10), GMC Faridkot (8) and GMC Mohali (2).