Comprehensive and in-depth participation of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in treating patients of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been a highlight of China’s fight against the epidemic.
A total of 74,187 confirmed patients, which account for 91.5 percent of the total infections on the Chinese mainland, have received TCM treatment, said Yu Yanhong, Party chief of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office on March 23 in Wuhan.
In Hubei, TCM treatment has been given to 61,449 COVID-19 patients, which account for 90.6 percent of the total infections in the province. Over 90 percent of COVID-19 patients in China have shown improvement during clinical observation, Yu said.
TCM has effectively relieved symptoms, cut the rate of patients developing into severe conditions, raised the recovery rate, reduced the mortality rate and boosted patients’ recovery, Yu told People’s Daily.
Over 4,900 medics from TCM hospitals and institutions across China have been sent to aid the fight against the epidemic in Hubei, accounting for about 13 percent of all medics dispatched to the province. The scale and strength of the TCM aid team are unprecedented.
TCM has effectively alleviated the progression of the disease at the early stage of infection, helped in the recovery process of patients, and effectively relieved the symptoms of severe and critical cases when it was combined with Western medicine.
TCM drugs and prescriptions, including Jinhua Qinggan Granule, Lianhua Qingwen Capsule, Xuebijing Injection, Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Decoction, HuaShiBaiDu Formula and XuanFeiBaiDu Formula have proven to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19 cases.
The course of COVID-19 is like a parabola, and TCM is effective at both ends of the curve, said Zhang Boli, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and president of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
None of the 564 patients in the TCM-oriented Fangcang temporary hospital in Jiangxia district of Wuhan saw their health condition deteriorating into severe after receiving integrated treatment of TCM and Western medicine, according to Zhang.
TCM treatment was therefore applied to patients in other Fangcang hospitals, enabling the rate of patients developing into severe conditions to be substantially reduced to between 2 percent and 5 percent, said Zhang.
In fact, the efficacy of a batch of TCM has been evaluated by internationally recognized randomized controlled trials.
Rigorous randomized controlled study has shown that Jinhua Qinggan Granule can significantly shorten the fever time of influenza patients, while Qiliqiangxin Capsule can significantly improve the cardiac function of chronic heart failure, said Qiu Haibo, vice president of Zhongda Hospital of Southeast University.
Data from clinical research have indicated that the Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Decoction has played a positive role in preventing mild and common cases from developing into severe and critical cases, said Huang Luqi, an academician of the CAE and president of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.
The XuanFeiBaiDu Formula has shown obvious efficacy in controlling inflammation and increasing lymphocytes, Huang said, disclosing that the HuaShiBaiDu Formula was developed by the TCM team of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences at Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital on the basis of the recommended formulas of the early national diagnosis and treatment plan as well as experiences from clinical practice.
At present, the number of COVID-19 patients in Hubei and Wuhan has been substantially reduced. The treatment of critical cases of COVID-19 is important to further reduction in the mortality rate of the disease, said Liu Qingquan, head of the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In clinical practice of the recent more than two months, medical experts have gradually gathered experience in treating the disease and reducing mortality with the combination of TCM and Western medicine, Liu said.
During the treatment of COVID-19 patients through the integration of TCM and Western medicine, the Western medicine experts focus on standardizing the treatments, such as the use of mechanical ventilation, hemofiltration, and the best time for tracheal intubation, Liu disclosed.
Meanwhile, the TCM doctors promote the treatment of the disease in ways including stabilizing patients’ blood oxygen saturation with TCM injections such as Shenmai Injection and Shengmai Injection, according to Liu.
The combination of TCM and Western medicine has brought out the strengths of TCM and Western medicine and helped reduce the mortality rate, Liu stressed.
In an effort to promote international cooperation in prevention and control of the disease, China has started to share its experience in treating COVID-19 with the world, and has donated TCM products and sent TCM doctors to other virus-stricken countries, according to Yu.