Experts are sounding alarm bells over blanket use of zinc in treating Covid-19 infections fearing that it may be a major contributing factor in the massive outbreak of mucormycosis (Black Fungus) across the country.
A report by India Today quoted the former president of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), Dr Rajeev Jayadevan, “Presence of metals such as zinc and iron in the body provides a suitable environment for the fungi that cause Black Fungus."
Dr Jayadevan added that the link between zinc and Mucormycosis must be investigated in order to figure out concrete conclusions and credible solutions.
The report by India Today also quoted the head of Life Course Epidemiology at Public Health Foundation of India, Professor Giridhar Babu, “There are several hypotheses out there [for the Black Fungus epidemic] and most probably, it is multi-factorial in nature. Maybe it is the supply of medical oxygen or the presence of co-morbidities."
“Simply the scaling up of anti-fungal treatment cannot address the issue in totality," he added.
On Saturday, Niti Aayog member VK Paul had also said that the disease can be prevented by stopping the “irrational” use of steroids for Covid-19 treatment.
Addressing the daily Covid-19 briefing, Paul said, “The role of steroids in mucormycosis cannot be denied. Administration of steroids beforehand, administering steroids in high doses and giving steroids for a prolonged period is irrational.”
He added that the country needs to fight mucormycosis as the “disease has now taken the shape of an outbreak as it is affecting Covid-19 patients”.
Paul said steroids do help in treating Covid-19 complications and it is touted as a “wonder drug”, but inappropriate doses can invite the risk of black fungus.
“Covid-19 also affects diabetics and there could be additional reasons as well for mucormycosis. States have already announced measures to contain the disease and several states have declared it an epidemic. All steps are being taken to control the disease,” he said at the briefing.