The government is taking emergency measures to tackle the black fungus, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Tuesday, urging people not to be afraid.
"For precautionary measures, various pharmaceutical companies in the country have been asked to increase production of black fungus preventive drugs," he said while inaugurating the Chinese vaccine at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH).
Besides, departments concerned have been also instructed to provide proper treatment of the disease, he added.
"Just like we are dealing with the Indian variant of Covid-19, we will also tackle the black fungus, so there is no need to be afraid of it," the minister said, adding that medical students would be vaccinated on a priority basis.
Highlighting the importance of vaccinating medical students, the health minister said, "5th-year medical students are being vaccinated in the first stage as they are working with Covid-19 patients and will continue to do so."
The minister ensured that initiatives had been taken to vaccinate the students on a priority basis considering their health risks.
"Students of other government medical colleges will also be vaccinated in phases alongside students of Dhaka Medical College," he added.
Vaccine production in the country
Mentioning that Bangladesh will begin vaccine production, the health minister further said, "The prime minister has given instructions for vaccine production in the country and talks are underway with all parties."
He added that soon vaccines will be produced in the country just like medicines and exports of vaccine will be also possible in future after meeting the country's demand.
The health minister further said negotiations with China and Russia on vaccine imports had reached a final stage. At the same time, talks with the United States and the United Kingdom had progressed.
"We are hoping that there will be no problem in acquiring vaccines in the future," the health minister said.
A total of 156 medical students will receive the vaccine at Dhaka Medical College on Tuesday.
During the inauguration of the vaccination programme, six 5th-year students of Dhaka Medical College received the first vaccine dose in the presence of the health minister.
Dhaka Medical College Principal Prof Dr Titu Miah chaired the event while Secretary to the Health Services Division Lokman Hossain Mia, Health Education Division Secretary Ali Nur and many other were present there.
Mucormycosis or black fungus is caused by a group of moulds known as mucormycetes, which can be found in soil and on plants, reports The Guardian.
When moulds get on hospital linens, migrate via ventilation systems, or are transmitted on adhesives, it can be acquired in hospitals – most often by vulnerable transplant patients.
According to experts, the surge may be due to an overuse of some immune-suppressing drugs during the Covid-19 pandemic.