Sonia Gandhi writes to Modi over shortage of mucormycosis drug

Published on May 22, 2021 01:54 PM IST

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday cited reports of shortage of a medicine needed to treat mucormycosis or black fungus as she wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought immediate relief for those suffering from the disease

New Delhi:Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during Congress Working Committee (CWC) Meeting at 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan(PTI6_6_2017_000036B) (PTI)
New Delhi:Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during Congress Working Committee (CWC) Meeting at 10 Janpath in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan(PTI6_6_2017_000036B) (PTI)
ByUmar Sofi

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday cited reports of shortage of a medicine needed to treat mucormycosis or black fungus as she wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought immediate relief for those suffering from the disease.

Black fungus has emerged as a major, potentially life-threatening Covid-19 complication and on Thursday prompted the Centre to ask states to declare the disease notifiable under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Gandhi requested Modi to have the disease covered under the Ayushman Bharat and other government health insurance schemes. “...the illness is not covered under Ayushman Bharat and most other health insurance products. I would request you to kindly take immediate action on the matter...”

She cited the Centre’s advisory to the states on declaring mucormycosis as an epidemic and added this means that there must be an adequate production and assured supply of essential medicines to treat the disease. She also called for free treatment of the disease.

Gandhi said Liposomal Amphotericin-B needed to treat the disease should be immediately made available to the states while citing reports of its shortage.

She wrote to Modi a day after the Prime Minister warned against the “new challenge of black fungus” and said the country must be prepared to fight the fatal condition increasingly being reported among recovering Covid-19 patients.

The Centre on Thursday told the Delhi high court that there were 7,251 cases of mucormycosis in India as of May 19.

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection with a fatality rate of at least 50%. Typically a rare disease, experts and doctors say thousands have now contracted it because of an overuse of steroids or due to suppression of their immune system, which is often a fallout of attempts to stop the life-threatening immune overreaction due to Covid-19.

The actual spread of the disease is likely be wider, and authorities in several states have now sounded the alarm on the disease. Over 200 deaths have been recorded due to mucormycosis.

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