Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said on Sunday that it was decided to start treatment for the “black fungus” at Bowring Hospital here on a pilot basis and then extend the treatment to medical schools and district hospitals.
Noting that treatment for black fungus infection is a little expensive, the minister said he would discuss with chief minister BS Yediyurappa about free treatment, as he also said that a committee of experts would be created to prepare a roadmap for the treatment of the infected and how to contain the infection.
“Mucormycosis or black fungus is commonly seen among those who have less immunity or due to steroid use. Those who have diabetes and are infected with Covid 10-15 days after taking steroids, the infection starts through the nose and spreads to the eyes and its parts like optic nerves and optic chiasm, “said Sudhakar.
Speaking to reporters here, he said there is a danger of losing his eyesight because of this and if treatment is not done in time there is a chance of death.
“After the infection was detected in Maharashtra, we talked to eye specialists and specialists (ophthalmologists) and starting Monday at Bowring hospital, we are starting treatment,” he said, adding, “We are starting on a pilot basis, and we will go later, continue to all medical schools and some district hospitals. “
Noting that amphotericin B, the drug for black fungus infection, is a bit expensive, the Minister said that a patient would need seven weeks of continuous treatment to be cured and the treatment could cost ‘2-3 lakh per person.
“I will discuss with the chief minister and suggest free treatment. Ultimately, he will decide,” said the minister, adding that those with problems with black fungi should immediately consult doctors. The Center is rationing the drug Amphotericin B and would also be distributed to the state, Sudhakar said, adding that it was decided at the Covid task force meeting on Saturday to request the Center to supply 20,000 vials of the drug.
He said he is in constant contact with the Union of Chemicals and Fertilizers Union D V Sadanada Gowda and his ministry in this regard and would also talk to the Union Minister of Health, Harsh Vardhan.
“There is no need for people to worry, but those with diabetes or other secondary infections, those who are immunocompromised, with tuberculosis, HIV, cancer, with a kidney transplant or any other organ, I advise everyone to be careful and not to use steroids without the doctor’s consent, “he said.
In addition, he advised doctors to be careful when administering steroids to these patients. In response to a question, the Minister said that it is difficult for the moment to say exactly how many are affected by the black fungus or have died of it, as people with these problems may have sought out private doctors. He said he was constituting until Monday a commission composed of eye specialists (ophthalmologist), endocrinologists, diabetologists on how to control infections by black fungi and how to treat patients with those infections.