With over 11,000 cases documented throughout India as of May 25, mucormycosis, a pandemic inside a pandemic, has posed a new issue. Mucormycosis, popularly known as “black fungus,” is a dangerous fungal illness. Patients with Covid-19 have also been shown to have other fungal infections, including yellow and white ones. What are these infections, and why are they becoming more prevalent?
What is Mucormycosis?
Mucormycosis is a fungus that causes blackening or discolouration of the nose, impaired or double vision, chest discomfort, breathing problems, and bloody coughing.
Mucormycosis is caused by contact with mucor mould, which may be found in soil, air, and even human noses and mucus. It erodes face tissues as it progresses through the respiratory tract. To prevent an infection from spreading to the brain, surgeons may have to surgically remove an infected eye.
How dangerous is it?
Mucormycosis may not affect everyone in the same way, but it can be deadly for individuals with health problems and comorbidities. People with weakened immune systems are now the most vulnerable to the dangers and problems connected with fungal infections, since their immune systems may be unable to combat the invaders. There are specific disorders and pre-existing issues, in particular, that are putting people in danger right now and necessitate extreme caution and vigilance.
Yellow fungus more lethal
Following the discovery of Black Fungus and White Fungus, another unusual fungal illness known as Yellow Fungus has been discovered. It is thought to be more harmful than black and white since it takes longer to recover, has more frequent symptoms, and first testing appears to be normal. It is critical to maintaining cleanliness to avoid contracting this disease, as the illness begins with improper hygiene.
Symptoms: Fever, headache, coughing, shortness of breath, bloody vomit, and changed mental status are all warning indications, as are discomfort and redness around the eyes or nose.
Mucormycetes infection should be considered if there is: Local discomfort on the cheekbone, one- sided facial discomfort, numbness or swelling; Blackish darkening across the bridge of nose/palate; Loosening of teeth, jaw involvement; Thrombosis, necrosis, skin lesion; Chest discomfort, pleural effusion, worsening of respiratory symptoms.
Is there any connection with COVID?
The majority of black and white fungus infections have been linked to COVID-19 patients who have recovered or who were hospitalised for COVID-19 therapy. Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 in less than six weeks are particularly vulnerable.
While it’s unclear whether COVID-19 is to blame for the increase in fungal infections, it’s important to note that a COVID-19 struggle might leave the body weak and unwell, especially weeks after the recovery period if one isn’t attentive. COVID-19 can cause difficulties in key organs, therefore there’s a high danger of infections like mucormycosis at this time.
At this time, it is impossible to tell when the black fungus shadow pandemic will cease, while increased awareness of patients’ sensitivity may assist physicians in India to detect instances earlier. For the time being, it’s just another example of how the epidemic surprised the globe and another example of how the harshest repercussions have hit nations that can least afford them.
‘VARIANT OF CONCERN’- THE COVID STRAIN OF INDIA
India is dealing with the second wave of coronavirus that is significantly more deadly than the first, and experts believe the increase is due to mutated strains. The B.1.617 strain, which was initially discovered in India, has been classed as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, indicating that it poses the “most public health risk”.
According to figures from India’s health ministry, India is the world’s second-worst-affected country, with more than 22.66 million infections and more than 246,000 fatalities too far. According to experts, the figures are likely underreported since many people never make it to hospitals that are running out of beds and oxygen.
What we know so far
The first B.1.617 samples were discovered in India in October, and officials declared in March that
the variety had grown increasingly frequent in the Maharashtra state.
Concerning variants are more infectious, produce more severe disease, or limit the efficacy of public health efforts, vaccinations, and medications. When compared to the categorisation of a variation of concern, the threshold for determining a variation of interest is rather low.
The B.1.617 strain from India has been found in roughly 40 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, according to a portal where governments may share viral data.
Did it cause the second wave?
The significant increase of Covid-19 cases in India was caused by a number of reasons, including mutation variations. Multiple varieties circulating in India have enhanced transmissibility, according to the WHO, but the B.1.617 strain has a “significantly faster growth rate.” According to WHO, B.1.617 has three sub-lineages, each with slightly different mutations. The B.1.617.1 and
B.1.617.2 lineages have grown more common as cases in India have increased dramatically.
Because it has two mutations — the E484Q and L452R — that may make the virus more infectious and better at avoiding the body’s defences, the variety has been dubbed a “double mutant.”
According to the WHO, a third mutation in the variation, the P681R, might lead to “enhanced transmission.”
Are Vaccines Effective?
According to early laboratory findings, 28 Covaxin patients were able to neutralise the B.1.617 variety. Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research collaborated to create Covaxin, a vaccine. Several studies employing antibodies produced by various vaccinations have been conducted, and some of them showed a minor drop in neutralisation, which might indicate that vaccinations are less effective. The WHO, however, stated that “real-world implications may be
“The potential effects of the B.1.617 lineage on vaccination or treatment efficacy, as well as reinfection risks, are unknown,” says the study.
The effectiveness of the vaccine on a particular strand may not be that promising as of now but it is observed that taking the vaccination increases immunity multi-fold concerning protection from other related causative diseases like the recent black fungus and its variants i.e., Yellow and White Fungus.
In these unprecedented times, we must hold ourselves morally high for whatever the future of 2021 has to offer.