A woman stands outside as a patient infected with black fungus is treated at the Mucormycosis ward of a government hospital in Hyderabad. (AP Photo)
A woman stands outside as a patient infected with black fungus is treated at the Mucormycosis ward of a government hospital in Hyderabad. (AP Photo)

‘Stop irrational steroid use in Covid treatment’: Govt on mucormycosis

  • Paul also highlighted that steroids help in avoiding complications that arise due to Covid-19 and it is a ‘wonder drug’ but inappropriate doses invite the risk of mucormycosis in people.
By hindustantimes.com, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 22, 2021 06:32 PM IST

The health ministry on Saturday during its daily coronavirus disease (Covid-19) press briefing highlighted that cases of mucormycosis can be prevented if the irrational use of steroids is stopped.

“We have to fight mucormycosis. The disease has now taken the shape of an outbreak as it is affecting Covid-19 patients. The role of steroids in mucormycosis cannot be denied. Administration of steroids beforehand, administering steroids in high doses and giving steroids for a prolonged period is irrational,” Niti Aayog (health) member VK Paul said.

Paul also highlighted that steroids help in avoiding complications that arise due to Covid-19 and it is a ‘wonder drug’ but inappropriate doses invite the risk of mucormycosis in people.

“Covid-19 also affects diabetics and there could be additional reasons as well for mucormycosis. States have already announced measures to contain the disease and several states have declared it an epidemic. All steps are being taken to control the disease,” Paul further added.

Lav Agarwal, joint secretary of the health ministry, also said that the government has asked five firms to ramp up production of Amphotericin-B, a drug necessary for the treatment of Covid-19. He also said that the government has given license to five additional manufacturers to start the production of the drug.

VK Paul also said that mucormycosis existed before the Covid-19 pandemic but it was a rare disease.

Mucormycosis is an infection caused by a fungus called mucormycetes which can enter the body through breathing or skin injuries, and has been widely reported in Covid-19 patients. The immune system can generally ward off the fungus but irrational usage of steroids during Covid-19 treatment, uncontrolled blood sugar put immunocompromised people at a higher risk of contracting the disease. India has reported at least 7,200 cases of mucormycosis and states are scrambling to acquire the drug which is vital to save patients from dying due to the disease.

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