How India got blindsided by a deadly mucormycosis outbreak19 min read 20 Jul 2021, 12:26 AM IST
Why mucormycosis—commonly and incorrectly referred to as Black Fungus—ravaged lives during the pandemic.
Despite early signals in 2020, India remained deeply unprepared for the devastating second outbreak. Amphotericin B stocks ran out across India, likely pushing up fatality rates.
In August 2020, as covid-19 cases were rising in north India, Arunaloke Chakrabarti noticed a troubling pattern. At the large teaching hospital where he works—Chandigarh’s Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER)—the professor noticed that the number of patients suffering from a rare but mutilating fungal infection, called mucormycosis, had doubled compared to the years before. And the excess cases were almost exclusively among covid-19 patients. “I knew something was wrong," recalls Chakrabarti, a microbiologist who specializes in the study of fungal pathogens, or mycology.
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