51 mucormycosis patients under treatment amid dire shortage of drugs

Amphotericin B, the drug used in the treatment of mucormycosis. Photograph used for representational purposes only   | Photo Credit: JOTHI RAMALINGAM B

The Union Territory currently has 51 patients with mucormycosis under treatment amid a dire shortage of drugs.

Health officials, who were on a virtual COVID-19 review meeting with Puducherry Lt. Governor and Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan, who is now in Hyderabad, said that the Union Territory had run out of stocks of Liposomal Amphoterecin B, currently the drug of choice in treatment of mucormycosis.

The Jipmer too has run out of stock after the first consignment of 50 vials had emptied out. Until new stocks arrived, surgical treatment as temporary measure was the only mode available.

The U.T. has so far recorded four deaths and 66 cases of mucormycosis. While Puducherry had 11 cases, three were discharged and two died, of the 55 patients from Tamil Nadu, 12 had been discharged while two died.

Dr. Soundararajan suggested that experts from Jipmer evolve an alternative treatment modality. The research on this could be fast-tracked as was the case with vaccine development for COVID-19, she said.

The Lt. Governor’s appeal comes even as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed the Delhi High Court that the drug was not the only medication available for the treatment of mucormycosis. The ICMR advocated the use of other available amphotericin formulations along with supplementary medicines to reduce toxicity.

Vaccination drive

On the vaccination front, an estimated 70% of healthcare workers had been covered while coverage of frontline personnel had been highest in Mahe and Yanam (94 to 95%) while Puducherry and Karaikal had covered around 80%.

Health officials told the Lt. Governor that the numbers were expected to improve with the recent rollout of street corner vaccination initiatives. Those not natives of Puducherry, including Union government employees, workers and students, were being administered vaccines on producing ID cards.

A stock of 33,000 doses of Covishield vaccine was expected to arrive around June 10.

The Lt. Governor wanted the focus to be maintained on street corner vaccination campaigns to facilitate fully immunised local communities. Already some villages, including in Karaikal, had reported achieving full vaccination while others had attained about 97-98 per cent immunisation, she said.

“Puducherry could be a model for motivating local communities to become fully vaccinated,” Dr. Soundararajan said.

Health officials also informed the Lt. Governor that a week-wise analysis showed that the cases were on a downward trend since hittng a peak in mid-May.

In this scenario, a strategy of unlocking more services and extending duration of relaxation for essential category of trade was also discussed. Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar and Health Secretary T. Arun were among those who participated in the review.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 5:04:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/51-mucormycosis-patients-under-treamtent-amid-shortage-of-medicines-in-puducherry/article34746885.ece

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