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Karnataka Health Minister Dr Sudhakar K on Monday announced that an expert panel has been set up to study the black fungus (Mucormycosis) in the state. Sudhakar said that the panel will submit a report on the black fungus and recommendations on how to curb its spread. He made the announcement after the treatment facility at state-run Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru was opened on May 17. "The panel has been set up to ascertain the cause of the infection in patients post COVID-19 treatment,” the minister told the reporters. The fungal infection, caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes, is emerging as a post-COVID-19 complication across the country. Observing that the fungus enters through the nasal cavity in humans, the Minister noted that water used in humidifiers in hospitals where COVID-19 patients are being treated is also a cause for the spread of infection.

Patients who were administered steroids and have diabetes are vulnerable to the infection. The minister had earlier cautioned those with immune-compromised conditions like HIV as they are prone to contract the infection too.
At Bowring hospital, patients affected with Mucormycosis are given Amphotericin injection. one needs 40-60 vials to recover from it, read a health department statement. Such facilities to treat this black fungus will be set up in six other cities: Mysuru, Shivamogga, Kalaburagi, Hubballi, Mangaluru and Belagavi.

In a corresponding development, Deputy Chief Minister Dr CN Ashwathnarayan said the state government is exploring collaboration with global alliance partners to procure critical drugs like Amphotericin B to treat black fungus; Remdesivir and Tocilizumab for treating COVID-19 patients.

The Dy CM who heads the state's COVID-19 task force, said balancing health with social and economic concerns is a huge challenge amid lockdowns and other pandemic-induced restrictions. He emphasized that collaborative efforts shall help all stakeholders t deal with the pandemic.  Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland and the US are among the global alliance partner countries.

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