Chandigarh, May 27 (IANS) With 188 cases of mucormycosis or black fungus reported in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered to ramp-up stocks of alternate drugs to treat the disease in view of the shortage of Amphotericin.With only Liposomal Amphotericin B injections in the stock and just 880 more Liposomal expected to be received shortly, the Chief Minister stressed the need to strengthen alternate drug stocks, as recommended by the expert group constituted by his government to deal with the crisis.Stressing the need to ensure that every patient has a chance to recover from black fungus, a disease reportedly caused by overuse of steroids in Covid-19 patients, especially those suffering from diabetes, the Chief Minister said along with efforts to get more of the Amphotericin drug, the state has already made available the alternate drugs -- Itraconazole (4,000 tablets) and Posaconazole (500 tablets) -- as suggested by the expert group.He also noted with satisfaction that the six-member expert group constituted has begun its task of advising hospitals on the treatment protocols and the use of various drugs being supplied to them.Health Secretary Hussan Lal said of the 188 cases, 40 were not related to Covid, while 148 were of Covid-infected persons with 133 having been on steroid therapy and 122 on oxygen support prior to onset of mucormycosis.As many as 154 had diabetes, 56 were immunocompromised and 47 comorbid. A total of 156 are currently under treatment, nine have been cured and 23 have died.--IANSvg/pgh
Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Scientists from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia's Queensland have developed two new drugs to both prevent SARS-CoV-2, the virus behind Covid-19 infection, and also treat people who have been exposed to the virus so they do not develop severe disease.The two early intervention drugs target how human cells respond to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, instead of the virus itself, according to the findings published in the journal Nature Cell Discovery.The first peptide-based drug would be given pre-exposure to the virus and help boost the efficacy of vaccines, while the second drug would stop the spread of the virus in already infected cells.Laboratory tests show the first peptide-based drug reduces infection by cloaking the ACE2 receptor protein on human cells. The SARS-CoV-2 spike protein uses the ACE2 receptor to bind to and invade cells. The virus then latches onto the cloaking peptides, which they mistake for human cells -- preventing infection.The lab tests have also shown that if the virus finds its way into cells, the second peptide-drug can block how the virus hijacks the host cell and replicates. It also boosts the immune system's ability to recognise the virus.Professor Sudha Rao, head of QIMR Berghofer's Gene Regulation and Translational Medicine Group, said they were able to develop the drugs after discovering that some people have a chemical tag which acts like a padlock on the ACE2 receptor."The tag can either keep the receptor locked or open -- controlling infection. This means people who have the 'padlock-like' tag on their ACE2 receptors will be less susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and those without the tag are more vulnerable to infection," Rao said."Our drugs stop the tag from being removed and also protect the untagged ACE2 receptors from being infected."The researchers also discovered that if the virus invaded the cells, it would unlock the tag from the inside -- allowing more efficient virus replication.The drugs are also stable and can be stored at room temperature, which would make them easy to distribute.The research was conducted on Covid-19 patient blood and human cells and the drugs are now being tested in hamsters at France's pre-clinical and clinical research facility, IDMIT, with promising early results showing they are not toxic and have few side effects.--IANSrvt/vd
New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Amid the second wave of the Covid pandemic, Delhi isn't just battling a shortage of vaccines, it is also grappling with a scarcity of drugs required to treat patients infected with the black fungus infection, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday.In the last few days, cases of black fungus have been diagnosed in large numbers and as of today more than 500 patients are being treated in over a dozen hospitals in the national capital.Kejriwal said that several government-run hospitals dedicated to Covid care are grappling with shortage of medicines for patients. These include Guru Teg Bahadur, Lok Nayak Jaya Prakash and Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty hospital.Kejriwal said the Delhi government did not receive medicines for black fungus on Sunday, even as the number of cases crossed 500. "We did not receive the medicine yesterday. So how can we treat the patients without the medicine? The injection is administered four to five times a day. If we are not given the injection, how can we treat patients?" asked the chief minister. As of today Delhi needs around 2,000 injections per day for patients infected with black fungus, but the capital is being provided merely 400-500 injections, said Kejriwal. "There is an extreme shortage of medicine and its production has to be increased. Since 4-5 injections need to be administered daily and there are around 500 patients, we need 2,000 injections every day but we are receiving only 400-500 injections," he added.--IANSpd/ash
New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Concerned with Covid patients facing difficulties in procuring essential drugs on time and at prescribed rates, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Saturday directed the pharmacies selling Covid medicines in the national capital to display the available stocks and rates of drugs prominently at their shops.In an order issued on Saturday, the DDMA observed that coronavirus patients are facing difficulties in procuring essential Covid drugs on time and at prescribed rates, causing hindrance in timely and effective treatment.The drugs which have been mentioned in the order include Ivermectin tablets, Doxycycline tablets/capsules, Methylprednisolone tablets and injections, Dexamethasone tablets and injections, Budosenide inhalers and Respules Favipiravir tablets, Apixaban tablets and Enoxaparin Sodium/Clexane.The order said it is necessary to disseminate proper and reliable information to the people with respect to the availability and pricing of these drugs."All authorised dealers/retailers/sellers of essential Covid-19 management drugs in the NCT shall display the information of stock position and MRP of all these drugs at conspicuous places at their business premises for the information of the general public," the order said.The order also stated that medicine sellers must update the stock position of these drugs four times a day -- at 10 am, 2 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm.The District Magistrates and Deputy Commissioners of Police have been directed to ensure strict compliance of the order. "In case any person is found violating the aforesaid directions, the defaulting person shall be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Section 188 of IPC, the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules 1945 and other applicable laws," the order read.--IANSpd/arm
New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to take measures to address the shortfall in the medicines, like Amphotericin B, used for treating black fungus, which is affecting Covid-19 recovered people.A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh said: "You have to get the medicine from wherever in the world. You have to take steps right now." The High Court also asked the Centre to apprise it on the steps taken to get the medicine for the treatment of mucormycosis (black fungus) which has been on rise in the national capital and in other states as well. "Wherever it is available in the world get it," it emphasised.The Centre's counsel assured the court that steps have been taken to import the medicine and added that the production capacity of some of manufacturers of the medicine has been doubled, but the bench noted the domestic production of the medicine is far less than what is required in India.The bench emphasised that time and human lives are of great importance, and if there is shortfall in the supply of the drug required for the treatment, then it would not serve the purpose. The bench told the Centre that it should import to the fill the gap in the shortfall and increase the production before more people suffer from the disease. It asked the Centre to submit a status on present production capacity of the medicine, details of licensed producers, and also, when the production capacity will be increased.Citing the shortfall in the supply of medicine, the court said: "We are afraid that mere doubling of production will not suffice." After it was informed on the number cases of black fungus in Delhi, the court asked the Centre to file a report detailing on the present case load and expected load in two weeks.The court's observation came on the issue of black fungus raised by advocate Rakesh Malhotra, who pointed out at shortage of medicine and rising cases in the city.The Central government informed the court that there are 200 black fungus cases in Delhi, and case load is 3 per cent of the entire nation. Against the backdrop pf shortage of medicine, counsel added that available medicine is being allocated to the states as per their caseloads. For Delhi, the counsel said 3,150 vials have been allocated so far.As the court again asked how would Centre increase the production of the medicine, counsel replied five companies are manufacturing the drug in the country and they have been asked to increase their capacity.The Delhi government counsel, however, submitted the medicine is in shortage and there is a huge demand as the number of cases are rising, adding that 15,000 vials of 50 mg is the projected weekly demand of Delhi as on May 18.--IANSss/vd
Chennai, May 18 (IANS) Tamilnadu Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (TIDCO) has called for Expression of Interest (EoI) to set up joint ventures to produce Covid-19 related vaccines, medical devices, oxygen and others.According to TIDCO, Tamil Nadu's premier industrial development organisation, it has called EoI from Indian and foreign players to set up plants to manufacture high end medical devices, oxygen plants, oxygen concentrators, vaccines and Covid-19 related drugs.TIDCO said the minimum investment from the private party should be Rs.50 crore in the proposed joint venture.The last date for submission of EoI to TIDCO is May 31, 2021.--IANSvj/in
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