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Black fungus: Govt ramps up supply of Amphotericin B; all you need to know about the drug

Black fungus: Govt ramps up supply of Amphotericin-B; all you need to know about the drug

Black fungus: Govt ramps up supply of Amphotericin-B; all you need to know about the drug
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By CNBCTV18.com May 25, 2021 10:42:21 PM IST (Updated)

The Central government is taking measures to increase the supply and production of the Amphotericin-B vials to states, for the treatment of black fungus or Mucormycosis cases as several states are reporting more cases of fungal infections.

The Central government is taking measures to increase the supply and production of the Amphotericin-B vials to states, for the treatment of black fungus or Mucormycosis cases as several states are reporting more cases of fungal infections.

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Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers on May 24 said that the Centre has allocated 19420 additional vials of Amphotericin-B injection for the treatment of Mucormycosis, commonly called as Black Fungus infections.


“Additional 19,420 vials of #Amphotericin-B have been allocated to all States/UTs and Central Institutions today. Besides this, 23680 vials of Amphotericin- B were allocated across the country on 21st May,” Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, DV Sadananda Gowda, said in a post on social media platform Twitter.

India has so far reported around 9000 black fungus cases from several states with the highest number of cases from Maharashtra. Over 2200 cases of black fungus infection have been reported from Maharashtra.

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that is caused by exposure to the mucor mold that is commonly found in soil, plants, manure, and decaying fruits and vegetables.

The Central government is gearing up to increase the supply of Amphotericin-B injections to affected states as around 18 states have reported cases of Black Fungus.

What is Amphotericin-B?

Amphotericin-B is an anti-fungal injection effective in the treatment of black fungus disease. If detected early the black fungus infection can be cured with daily doses of Amphotericin-B injection for a few weeks.

The Amphotericin-B drug has been in use since the last 20 years for different kinds of fungal infections.

How is the Centre dealing with high demand?

According to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan India is importing 9 lakh vials of the Amphotericin-B drug for the treatment of the black fungus affected patients. Of this 50000 vials have been received and around three lakh vials will be available by May end.

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers DV Sadananda Gowda said in a tweet that over 43,000 vials of Amphotericin-B have been allocated to all States/UTs and Central Institutions from May 21 to May 24.

States demand more vials

According to Union Minister Gowda, Gujarat (5,800) and Maharashtra (5,090) have been allocated the maximum number of the additional Amphotericin-B vials followed by Andhra Pradesh (2,310), Madhya Pradesh (1,830), Rajasthan (1,780), Karnataka (1,270).

Out of the additional 19,420 vials allocated on May 24, 2021, Gujarat (4640), Maharashtra (4,060), Andhra Pradesh (1,840), Madhya Pradesh (1,470) Rajasthan (1,430) Telangana (1,260) and Karnataka (1,030) are the states that got above 1,000 vials.

Shortage of API for Amphotericin-B

The demand for Liposomal Amphotericin B (LaMB) has surged but the production of the drug has been hampered due to the shortage of Lipids, one of the raw materials used to manufacture the LaMB.

 The demand for lipids has increased 10 times in the past 2-3 months as thousands of cases of black fungus have been reported across the country.

The requirement of lipids has risen to around 1000 kgs per year as against 100 to 150 kgs per year. The problem is further exacerbated as there are only limited manufacturers of the lipid globally.

Pharma companies producing Amphotericin-B 

There are five existing manufacturers of the drug in India including Bharat Serums & Vaccines, BDR Pharmaceuticals, Sun Pharma, Cipla and Life Care Innovations.

The domestic manufacturers will cumulatively produce 1,63,752 vials of Amphotericin-B in May 2021.  Mylan Labs only imports this drug. Around 3,63,000 vials of this anti-fungal drug are going to be imported in May 2021. This would take the total availability to 5,26,752 vials.

According to the Drug Controller General of India licence has been given to five more manufacturers for production of Amphotericin-B. These five companies are NATCO Pharmaceuticals, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Gufic Biosciences, Emcure Pharmaceuticals and Lyka.

The availability will be further ramped up to 2,55,114 vials in June 2021. Another 3,15,000 vials will be imported in June 2021. Along with the domestic supply, the countrywide availability of Amphotericin-B will be enhanced to 5,70,114 vials in June 2021. Cumulatively, all the companies will start producing 1,11,000 vials of Amphotericin-B per month from July 2021.

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