❄️ Freezethawed: The Newsletter #034 - A tale of two pathogens and an honourable farewell
Black fungus and Mucormycosis are probably the two most common words that have been ringing in your ears for the past two weeks. A little epidemic India herself allowed to crop up. A presentation that I’ve been fortunate and unfortunate to see in my patients over the past two weeks.
Mucor in a viral land
What’s been happening?
Many COVID positive patients have developed a co-existing fungal infection during or post their COVID phase. It is quite serious and leading to some unexpected deaths.
Why is this happeneing?
Fungal infections grow in a state of immunocompromise (a state where the body’s immune system is too weak to fight off a pathogen). A COVID patient with uncontrolled blood sugars on corticosteroid therapy (an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppresant, used as treatment of choice in most cases) surprisingly becomes just the right candidate for this fungus to plan its attack. A humid climate, unsanitary water, old masks, history of immunosuppresant drug use, malignancies all add to the broth.
Why is it the talk of the town?
Mucormycosis is very rare. I have only seen one case during my pre-COVID era. The incidence is <1%. However, over the past few months the incidence has increased exponentially.
Why is it soo difficult to treat?
Fungal infections are stubborn. Their treatment is nothing short of loading the body with a poison. Also, to add to this all COVID patients are in a state of immunocompromise (thanks to steroids). The body has no soldiers to fight the enemy.
To add to this the drug of choice is not only mighty expensive, it is also a pain to administer.
Should you be afraid?
There is no reason to panic. But you should be smart and vigilant. The first thing you can do is continue being a good samaritan and take your precautions against COVID. If you, by any disastrous luck contract the illness, follow your doctor’s advice and keep your sugars in check. Keep a look out for all the red flag signs.
For a while our NGO, Doctors For A Cause and I have pondering about how we can contribute our two cents during the pandemic and last week I feel we came up with a solution. We have developed and curated a sister page for Doctors For A Cause on Instagram to not only mourn the deaths, but also celebrate the lives of health care workers that have succumbed to COVID on the frontlines. Our homage to the unsung heroes. The page is called The Final Eulogy.
If you know any such healthcare worker, who has succumbed to COVID on the frontlines you may contact me, the Instagram page or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I am proud of the entire team for this initiative to create such a platform for the fraternity.
Until next time,
Anujeet’s book journey
Currently I’m reading
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
Aggregate, the weekly quote
"Wear your failure as a badge of honor!" ― Sundar Pichai
Harmony, the weekly song
Love is Mystical – Cold War Kids
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