Q. What is the news?
Black fungus has emerged as a post-Covid complication that has startled the medical fraternity, because of the way the ‘rare disease’ has spiked in the second wave of the pandemic in India. While they are clear that dosage of steroids, uncontrolled sugar levels and low immunity are behind the outbreak, they are also looking at a new factor that could have made this rare disease common this time: the quality of Oxygen being supplied in the hospitals.
Q. How shortfall in oxygen ended up being plugged by industrial oxygen and cylinders?
Black fungus cases started being reported from among patients who are mostly in post-Covid are and were on Oxygen and steroids under two weeks back. With oxygen shortage being reported across most of India, large amounts of industrial oxygen had been diverted for medical purposes. Along with this industrial cylinders were also used to plug the shortfall in medical oxygen cylinders. While some industrial cylinders were upgraded to medical grade in states like Punjab, this was not possible for all the non-medical cylinders used by patients.
Q. How does it matter if industrial oxygen is used for medical purposes?
They cannot be used for medical purpose without upgrading and upgradation needs time and money both which were not possible in the past few weeks with the spike in demand for oxygen, adding how there is a fear of contamination through industrial cylinders if they are not in good condition.
Q. So, can we link quality of oxygen supplied through industrial cylinders to spike in black fungus cases?