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Sonia Gandhi Writes to PM Modi Over Shortage of Black Fungus Drug

Various states have been reporting a shortage of the drug Amphotericin B, used to treat black fungus.

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
Sonia Gandhi and Narendra Modi.
i

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday, 22 May, wrote to PM Narendra Modi over the outbreak of ‘mucormycosis’, or black fungus, and the shortage of medicines to treat it, and asked him to take action in the matter.

In a letter, Gandhi wrote: “I understand that Liposomal Amphotericin-B is absolutely essential for treatment of Mucormycosis. However there are reports of its acute scarcity in the market. I would request you to kindly take immediate action in this matter.”

She also stated that the illness is not covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme and most other health insurance products, and requested action in this regard as well.

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As reports of black fungus (Mucormycosis) infections emerge, social media has been inundated with desperate pleas for Amphotericin B, an antifungal drug frequently credited as a cure for the infection. Various states have been reporting a shortage of the drug.

The ‘New Challenge’ of Black Fungus

Addressing a virtual meet with frontline workers in Varanasi on Friday, PM Modi acknowledged the danger posed by the emergence of the rare fungal infection, black fungus.

“In our ongoing fight against COVID-19, a new challenge of black fungus has surfaced. We must focus on taking precaution and preparation to deal with it,” PM Modi said.

On Thursday, the Union Health Ministry urged the states to make mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. Under the act, all states will have to report all confirmed or suspected cases of this condition, seen in recovering COVID patients, to the health ministry. The infection has been recorded in several parts of the country.

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, mucormycosis is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called micromycetes.

Shortage of Amphotericin B

Amid shortage of the drug used to treat this infection, the government has informed that five more companies in India have been allowed to manufacture Amphotericin B.

Minister of State Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday, 20 May, took to Twitter to inform:

“Black fungus (Mucormycosis) curing drug Amphotericin B’s shortage will be resolved soon! Within three days, five more Pharma companies have got New Drug Approval for producing it in India, in addition to the existing six pharma companies (sic).”

Mandaviya also tweeted that the existing pharma companies have already started ramping up production. Further, he said:

“Indian companies have also placed orders for importing 6 lakh vials of Amphotericin B. We are leaving no stone unturned to smoothen the situation.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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