In the new chapter of COVID-19 prevention and control, certain results have been achieved by general and specialized hospitals in "protecting health and preventing severe cases" with TCM by actively utilizing its unique advantages and role.
China has developed characteristic plans on COVID-19 prevention and control through concerted efforts, such as continuous pursuit of scientific research and technical development in related fields by domestic research institutions of TCM, full utilization of TCM characteristics and advantages in COVID-19 prevention and treatment across the country, and further optimization of the mechanism of coordinated treatment with TCM and Western medicine.
In a lab at the the Institute of Materia Medica of CACMS, researchers are working hard on the state-commissioned research projects of screening Chinese medicine with efficacy in treating COVID-19 infection and analyzing the mechanism of action. Over the past three years, the pre-clinical efficacy evaluation of more than 40 Chinese medications recommended in the national and provincial protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 has been conducted here, thus providing a scientific basis for the clinical application of TCM.
Liu Xiuling, a 73-year-old patient from Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, has recovered from COVID-19 after more than a month of TCM treatment.
The patient Liu Xiuling said, “my condition is getting better; the recovery goes quite smoothly for a septuagenarian like me and you can tell it from my complexion."
All the information on diagnosis and treatment of Ms. Liu has been promptly uploaded to the Information System Platform for TCM Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19. The collection, analysis and research of these clinical data can facilitate further investigation on the post-medication clinical changes and improvement of the efficacy. Up to now, the platform has collected TCM clinical data from 68 hospitals and 20 research institutions in 20 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government).
In the medical rescue of Wuhan in 2020 by a national medical team of more than 700 TCM experts, TCM was applied in 92% of the confirmed cases. The use rate and overall response rate of TCM among confirmed cases in Hubei exceeded 90%. Moreover, the Report of WHO Expert Meeting on Evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Treatment of COVID-19 published on March 31, 2021 affirmed the efficacy and safety of TCM.
Yang Hongjun, Vice President of the CACMS, said that a remarkable progress has been made in scientific and technological innovation of TCM thanks to the strengthening of national investments, so that TCM played a key supporting role in the fight against COVID-19. Furthermore, the efficient conversion from scientific and technical innovations of TCM to the improvement of clinical treatment has laid the foundation for the development of TCM treatment protocols with Chinese characteristics.
Promote Chinese herb decoction in rural areas
Relieve the burden of medical institutions
During the epidemic prevention and control, the Cipher Prescription of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treating COVID-19 Infection has been gradually introduced nationwide to promote Chinese herb decoction in rural areas. Meanwhile, efforts have been made in further strengthening the coordinated treatment of COVID-19 infection with TCM and Western medicine, and establishing a mechanism for joint management and treatment with TCM and Western medicine.
In the past three years, the Cipher Prescription of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Treating COVID-19 Infection has been gradually introduced nationwide to promote Chinese herb decoction in rural areas and relieve the burden of medical institutions.
In Yongfeng Village, Meishan City, Sichuan Province, the Chinese herb decoction given free interfered with 90% of COVID-19 infections. In Longhe Village, Qianxinan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province, the use of Chinese herb decoction resulted in a reduction of conversion from mild cases to severe ones.
Zhong Jing, a doctor of Longhe Village Clinic, Longchang Town, Zhenfeng County, Guizhou Province, claimed that local patients highly praised the Chinese herb decoction for its good efficacy in relieving cough and sore throat.
The past three years have witnessed the efforts made by domestic medical institutions at all levels in further strengthening the coordinated treatment of COVID-19 infection with TCM and Western medicine, and establishing a mechanism for joint management and treatment with TCM and Western medicine.
Zhang Wei, Deputy Director of the National Base of TCM Prevention and Control for Epidemic Diseases, explained that TCM can effectively shorten the time of negative conversion and reduce severe cases and deaths in the treatment of COVID-19.
At present, China has built 35 national bases of TCM prevention and treatment for epidemic diseases, as well as more than 30 national teams for TCM prevention and treatment of epidemic diseases and emergency medical rescue. The past decade has witnessed a marked improvement in the country's TCM service capabilities, as evidenced by the fact that more than 98% of community health service centers and township hospitals can provide Chinese medicine services, and the total number of TCM consultations has reached 1.2 billion.
Yan Huaguo, Deputy Director of the Department of Medical Administration, NATCM, said that as the epidemic prevention and control enters a new chapter, efforts will be made in persistent combination of TCM with Western medicine, concomitant administration of Chinese and Western medicine, demonstration of characteristics and advantages of TCM in protecting health and preventing severe cases, and contribution to the people's health.