There has been an alarming number of mucormycosis or black fungus cases in active and recovered Covid-19 patients. In May, the Centre had even asked all states to notify the disease as an epidemic. Now, it has emerged that many recovered Covid-19 patients who had been diagnosed with mucormycosis opted for leech therapy after trying conventional methods.
Leech therapy is an Ayurvedic practice that relies on a blood purification process to let out the toxic blood from the body. Medicinal leeches are used to suck out the impure blood and then release enzymes that support immunity.
Ayurveda consultant Dr. Aswathy Pathiyath said mucormycosis was affecting Covid-19 patients who had comorbid conditions such as diabetes. The disease can be classified into five different types and depends on the part affected, he told IE Online. Of these, disseminated mucormycosis in the later phase, and cutaneous mucormycosis are correlated to dustavrana (non-healing ulcer), kusta (skin disease), and visarpa (erysipelas), respectively.
According to Dr. Pathiyath, leech therapy is the best treatment in such cases, but it also depends on the person’s ‘prakruthi’ and the extent of symptoms.
However, Dr. Yash Javeri of Anesthesia and Emergency Medicine at Lukcnow’s Regency Superspecialty Hospital said leech therapy might be useful in cases of a few medical conditions, but there was no evidence to support leech therapy in black fungus cases. He added that the therapies needed to be selected carefully.
ENT surgeon Dr. Amitabh Malik also agrees that there was no scientific proof to back Ayurveda treatment for black fungus. He said only one therapy has proven to work on such patients across the world and that was to surgically remove the diseased tissue, followed by a prescription of amphotericin B liposomal and some other anti-fungal drugs. He added that people can put their faith in any kind of remedy, but leech therapy was not supported by any scientific evidence.