The ‘black fungus’ maiming Covid patients in India

The 'black fungus' maiming Covid patients in India
Mucor mould is found in soil, plants, manure and decaying fruits. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Mumbai-based eye surgeon Dr Akshay Nair was waiting Saturday morning to operate on a 25-year-old woman who had recovered from a bout of coronavirus three weeks ago. He then found out the patient was attacked by black fungus.

Inside the surgery, an ear, nose throat specialist doctor was already at work on the patient, a diabetic.

The doctor had inserted a tube in the patient’s nose and was removing tissues infected with mucormycosis, a rare but dangerous black fungus infection. This aggressive infection affects the eyes, nose and sometimes the brain.

After his colleague finished, Dr Akshay Nair would carry out a three hour procedure to remove the patient’s eye.

Mr Nair said: “I will be removing her eye to save her life. That’s how this disease works.”

Even as a deadly second wave of coronavirus ravages the South Asian country, doctors are now reporting a rash of cases of a rare infection – also called the “black fungus” – among recovered and recovering Covid-19 patients.

Doctors believe mucormycosis may be being triggered by the use of steroids, a life-saving treatment for severe and critically ill Covid-19 patients.

Steroids reduce inflammation in the lungs for Covid-19 and appear to help stop some of the damage that can happen when the immune system of the patient’s body goes into overdrive to fight off Covid-19. But they also push up blood sugar levels and reduce immunity in both diabetics and non-diabetic Covid-19 patients.

It is thought that this drop in immunity in body could be triggering these cases of mucormycosis.

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