India is staring at a new challenge as the number of cases of COVID-induced mucormycosis or Black Fungus infections is on the rise. The central government issued an advisory on May 9 for screening, diagnosis and management of the mucormycosis infections as several states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha have reported a large number of cases.
The malignant black fungus infection is causing damage to the nose, eyes and sometimes the brain of 'vulnerable' patients who are COVID-positive or have just recovered from the infection.
Dr Rahul Pandit, Member of Supreme Court's National Task Force in an interview with CNBC-TV18 Managing Editor Shereen Bhan said, "Black Fungus is medically called as mucormycosis. It is not a new infection. It is an infection which we are used to seeing in uncontrolled diabetic people who have low immunity. However with the second COVID wave we are seeing a crop of these cases coming across."
He added, "The main reason for Black Fungus is a poorly controlled blood glucose in these patients. We know that our country is having a large amount of diabetic population, coupled with that use of steroid has been indiscriminate or even if it has been appropriately used, the control of blood glucose may not have been appropriate. That is what brings down the immunity a little bit and this fungus waits for the immune system to become weak and that's when it strikes."
"The second reason for the fungus to proliferate is that the COVID infection by itself also brings down your immunity a little bit and then you may be adding on the complexity of the other therapies - the monoclonal antibodies which people have used, Tocilizumab, Bevacizumab, Itolizumab, so on and so forth may have further blunted the immune system quite a lot and that probably is responsible for bringing this infection suddenly into high numbers in the society. However if your blood glucose is controlled and your hygiene is good, you are unlikely to get Mucormycosis despite taking appropriate doses of steroids," he explained.To know more, watch the video.