The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted approval to five pharma companies to start manufacturing antifungal anti-fungal drug Amphotericin B liposomal injection, whose demand has increased in the wake of a surge in black fungus infections.
The five companies that got DCGI's nod are Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Gufic Biosciences, Lyca Pharmaceuticals, and Natco Pharma. Presently six firms - BDR Pharma, Bharat Serums and Vaccines, Mylan, Sun Pharma, Cipla, and Life Care - are producing the drug.
"The existing pharma companies have already started ramping up the production. Indian Companies has also placed orders for importing 6 lakh vials of AmphotericinB," Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Mansukh Mandaviya said.
"We are leaving no stone unturned to smoothen the situation," Mandaviya added.
Amphotericin B is used in the treatment of black fungus or mucormycosis and is currently in short supply.
Mucormycosis (black fungus) primarily affects people recovering from COVID-19 and has been steadily rising across the country. Rajasthan and Telangana have already declared it an epidemic.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has urged states and union territories to make black fungus or mucormycosis a notifiable disease under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, stating that the infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID-19 patients.
The ministry, in a letter, said that in recent times a new challenge in the form of a fungal infection namely mucormycosis has emerged and is reported from many states amongst COVID-19 patients, especially those on steroid therapy and deranged sugar control.
"This fungal infection is leading to prolonged morbidity and mortality amongst COVID 19 patients," Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry, said in the letter.
The treatment of this fungal infection requires a multidisciplinary approach consisting of eye surgeons, ENT specialists, general surgeons, neurosurgeons, and dental maxillo facial surgeons, among others, and institution of Amphotericin-B injection as an antifungal medicine.
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