The United States-based Gilead Sciences is working on expediting the supply of AmBisome, a drug used to treat black fungus in India, as the cases of mucormycosis continue to rise unabated.
The drug will be supplied to India through Mylan, said government sources. So far, more than 1,21,000 vials have reached India and another 85,000 vials are on the way. The company will supply 1 million doses of AmBisome. The company is also withdrawing the stocks available in other countries, which would be supplied to India.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed officials to get this drug from anywhere it is available across the world. And to domestically augment production, the government has given licenses to five more companies.
The central government’s Department of Pharmaceuticals has also been making allocations of Liposomal Amphotericin B injections to states and union territories based on the data provided by them on the Centre’s COVID-19 portal.
Mucormycosis is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes present naturally in the environment. It spreads through the nose and affects other parts of the body such as the eyes.
People whose immunity has been weakened due to Covid, diabetes, kidney disease, liver or cardiac disorders, age-related issues, or those on medication for auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to contract mucormycosis. If such patients are administered steroids, their immunity weakens further, allowing the fungus to thrive.