Cases of mucormycosis (black fungus) in the city seem to have reached the peak and are expected to fall in the next 7-10 days similar to COVID-19, which had triggered a spike in the fungal infection, said doctors on Tuesday.
They also said due to shortage of Amphotericin B, a drug used to treat black fungus, some of them are using another drug, which is the second line of treatment. They said the shortage is hampering the treatment.
Deputy Medical Superintendent of Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Hospital Ritu Saxena said there is a reduction in new admissions of patients with black fungus.
“There is a fall in the number of new [black fungus] cases. Today [Tuesday] only one or two patients were admitted at the hospital. COVID cases spiked in April and when these patients were in the recovery phase, then the black fungus cases had spiked. We are now expecting a fall in the number of these cases too,” Dr. Saxena said.
Lok Nayak Hospital is one of three dedicated hospitals the government declared for treatment of the fungal infection. There were 48 people admitted at the hospital with black fungus as of Tuesday evening.
A majority of patients with black fungus are those who recovered from COVID-19 or are infected with the virus, said doctors.
Atul Mittal, director, Otorhinolaryngology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, also said there is a “slight” reduction in new cases at the hospital and cases are likely to fall. “But we will have to wait for a week to come to a conclusion,” Dr. Mittal added.
Ajay Swaroop, chairman of ENT, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said: “If the primary disease [COVID-19] cases go down, then the secondary disease [black fungus] will also go down in 10-15 days as that is the time period after which the patient develops the secondary disease. The black fungus cases are expected to fall in the next 7-10 days.”
There were 78 people admitted at the hospital with the fungal infection as of Tuesday evening.
Both Dr. Swaroop and Dr. Mittal said they were giving Posaconazole, a second line of the drug, along with Amphotericin B to reduce the usage of the latter.
“If Amphotericin B is available, then we would not even think about another drug. But since there is a shortage of the drug, we are giving Posaconazole to patients so that we can give them a reduced dose of Amphotericin than required,” Dr. Swaroop said.
Another doctor at Ganga Ram said they were forced to choose whom to give Amphotericin B due to the shortage and it was “unfortunate”.
“Shortage is there. We are not getting sufficient quantities of the drug and have to wait for it. We have to slightly delay the treatment of new patients with the drug in some cases, as the ongoing treatments cannot be stopped,” Dr. Saxena said.