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  • Writer's pictureDr. Koralla Raja Meghanadh

Myth busted: Black Fungus Industrial Oxygen

Updated: Aug 2, 2023

Speculations showed that the rise in black fungus / mucormycosis in post-COVID-19 patients during the second wave of COVID-19 in India could be related to oxygen.

Black fungus infection cannot be caused by either traditional hospital oxygen or industrial oxygen.

Black fungus and industrial oxygen are not related. Technically oxygen cannot be responsible for black fungus infections.

We logically have two strong points to strengthen our argument: "Don't link Mucormycosis / Black Fungus and industrial oxygen."

Industrial oxygen or oxygen cylinders are not related to black fungus infection (also known as Mucormycosis disease) in any way. This is due to two reasons: first, industrial oxygen or any oxygen in pure form is toxic and fungus is not capable of growing in it; second, the fungus plant that grows in water of oxygen flow meters is not capable of infecting a person with black fungus.

1. Pure oxygen is toxic - black fungus cannot grow in industrial oxygen or oxygen cylinders

Neither fungi nor bacteria can live in 100% oxygen, and even humans cannot breathe pure oxygen for more than one or two hours. Likewise, there is no way a tiny fungus, mucor, or black fungus can live in dirty oxygen pipes or oxygen cylinders or industrial oxygen.

Mucor will not grow in oxygen cylinders. Let it be medical oxygen or industrial oxygen.

2. Sporangia cannot grow in water

One more theory around oxygen is that fungus spreads due to unhygienic water used in oxygen flow meters.

The fungus can grow in water in the form of mycelia only, and Mycelia is like a plant without flowering. When fungus grows in water or liquid, it cannot germinate and form sporangia. The fungus cannot release its seeds without sporangia, and Sporangia can grow only on solid substances.

So even if the water used in flow meters is unhygienic and has mucor growing, it cannot cause mucormycosis infection.

Black fungus oxygen cylinders COVID 19
Mucor/black fungus on solid material

Mucormycosis causes

We breathe mucor, the fungus that is responsible for mucormycosis, daily.

We do not need unhygienic oxygen cylinders or dirty water inflow meters to get exposed to it.

It attacks us only when our immunity is down. Unfortunately, COVID-19 can bring down our immunity and increases the risk. The black fungus has been seen in patients who have hardly taken any medication and got self-healed. This gives us more reason to start the medication ASAP and avoid health deterioration.

Mucormycosis or black fungus occurs only when immunity is low

Similar myths involve steroids used for COVID-19 treatment. Steroids can lower immunity only when taken for a long time. For COVID-19, the steroids are given for a short time and will not impact immunity. So, steroids that are offered for COVID-19 cannot be the reason.

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Does fungus grow with oxygen?

Yes, most fungi need oxygen to grow.

But, they cannot live in 100% pure oxygen as it is toxic and will kill them.

Please read the above article for more details.

What happens when you inhale black fungus?

Black fungus is caused by a fungus called mucor. We can find Mucor seeds everywhere in our atmosphere, and we inhale them daily. But not everyone will be affected by it. Only those with compromised immune systems are at risk of being infected by black fungus or mucormycosis.

Does black fungus spread through the air?

Yes, black fungus spreads through the air. Black fungus, or mucormycosis, is a fulminant fungal infection caused by a fungus called mucor. Mucor seeds are everywhere in the environment and enter our bodies daily when we breathe. But it only affects us when our immunity is weakened or if we have any underlying health conditions.

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