The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed the Delhi High Court on Friday that Liposomal Amphotericin B is not the only medication available for the treatment of mucormycosis, also called black fungus.
ICMR said it while submitting a policy on the distribution of the said drug for treating black fungus.
The apex health research body further told the court that other amphotericin formulations are also available and can be used with "supplementary medicines to reduce toxic effects."
Appearing on behalf of the Centre, Advocate Kirtiman Singh said states, where best possible treatments and therapies are not available for black fungus cases, are also treating the fungal infection.
"We are in a city where we are used to having the best. In the other states, the caseload [black fungus] is higher. They are using alternative therapies. In the states where they are not used to having the best possible therapies, they are still treating mucormycosis," Singh said.
"Even in Delhi, the doctors must have been giving alternative therapies," he added.
The ICMR also informed the Delhi HC that the national task force has explored treatment options for black fungus.
"Amphotericin B is available in several formulations. Liposomal Amphotericin B is to be preferred in patients who have mucormycosis of the brain. Another formulation of Amphotericin B -- deoxycholate is also available, which has a higher toxic effect on the kidneys. [It] can be used with other techniques to reduce nephrotoxicity (kidney toxicity)," ICMR told the court.
"Oral posaconazole medications are to be considered only if IV therapy is not possible," it further noted.
Meanwhile, the ICMR stated that several therapies are available for the treatment of mucormycosis.
"Alternative medications are available. Liposomal Amphotericin B is in shortage. An impression has gone out that Liposomal Amphotericin B was the only available medication," Singh said.
The Delhi High Court on June 1 directed the Centre to form a policy on distribution of Liposomal Amphotericin B drug to treat black fungus and spell out the priority of patients so that some lives could be saved, if not all.
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