A green mushroom found in an increasing number of Covid sufferers could triple the risk of death in some high-risk patients, experts say.
The first case of aspergillosis was recorded last week in India in a man who was recovering from Covid infection and then had to be flown to hospital.
After fighting the virus, the 34-year-old developed a nosebleed and a high fever and was diagnosed with the second illness.
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by Aspergillus, a common mold that is found both indoors and outdoors.
Most people can inhale Aspergillus spores without feeling uncomfortable, but it can cause health problems such as allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections of other organs.
Scientists at Woon Chong of Albany Medical Center (WCAMC) in New York State have now found that the disease occurred in 13.5 percent of patients hospitalized with Covid.
They examined 19 studies from around the world and found 1,421 patients with Covid-19-Associated Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CAPA).
None of the cases the WCAMC team discovered came from India – but another expert said tens of thousands may have been overlooked.
Professor David Denning, Chief Executive of the Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections and an expert on aspergillosis at the University of Manchester, told The Sun: “Awareness of CAPA was highlighted by many experts in 2020 but this did not seem to carry over to diagnosis Preparing for severe Covid in India.
“The explosion in mucormycosis (so-called black fungus) cases was unexpected, but CAPA was expected but is apparently still missing.”
When asked how many deaths the fungus has been linked to, he said, “Given the widespread use of corticosteroids and the ubiquitous nature of the ‘green fungus’ Aspergillus, there are likely tens of thousands.”
Scientists studying the condition at the Institute for Medical Education and Research in India have also found that the risk of dying from CAPA was 2.8 times higher than other patients seriously ill with Covid.
WCAMC has published a paper on the link between the green fungus and Covid and has concluded that this could lead to “long hospital stays”.
They said: “Patients with CAPA have a high probability of mortality and early diagnosis with timely therapy must be ensured in order to optimally treat these patients.”