SCIO briefing on TCM's important role and a list of effective drugs in COVID-19 prevention and control

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on March 23 in Wuhan, Hubei province, to introduce the important role of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and a list of effective drugs in COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control. March 26, 2020

The Kyunghyang Shinmun:

TCM was known to have been included in the treatment of diseases such as SARS and MERS. Are there any differences in TCM treatment for COVID-19 and SARS? If so, why did you make such changes? Thank you.

Liu Qingquan:

Thank you. Just now, Ms. Yu Yanhong, Mr. Zhang Boli, and Mr. Huang Luqi answered your question to some extent. TCM has been used to treat infectious diseases for thousands of years and we have developed a relatively mature scientific law during the process. The treatment of infectious diseases mainly focuses on three methods, namely clearing heat, eliminating dampness, and detoxing. Each method will be prioritized according to the causes of different infectious diseases. Several famous classic prescriptions have been developed over thousands of years. Earlier, Mr. Zhang Boli and Mr. Huang Luqi introduced that some TCM prescriptions have proved to be effective in treatment, such as the Maxing Shigan Decoction and Daqinglong Decoction of Zhang Zhongjing, a renowned Chinese physician in Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220); Reed Decoction recorded in "Qianjin Yaofang" (Essential Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold) by Chinese pharmaceutical expert Sun Simiao of the Tang Dynasty (618-907); Membrane Source Opening Beverage by Wu Youke, a renowned physician of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) specialized in infectious diseases; and Yinqiao San (Lonicerae and Forsythiae Powder) and Zhengqi San (Qi-Righting Powder) by Wu Jutong of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). These prescriptions can be used in the early stages of the disease to eliminate pathogen and strengthen vital qi. TCM can quickly mobilize the human body's defense system to evict invading enemies and prevent viruses from causing significant damage to the body. For example, the method of eliminating dampness boosts immunity, like boosting the morale of military forces. In Chinese, "mianyi" (immunity) is a word with TCM characteristics, meaning preventing epidemic disease. The method of detoxing is equivalent to giving the enemy (virus) a head-on blow. The method of clearing heat can change the internal environment of the human body so that the virus cannot escape or hide. Therefore, these treatment methods can be used together to defeat the virus.

In the past two decades, China has developed several new prescriptions based on classic ones while dealing with the outbreak of new infectious diseases. For example, as Mr. Zhang Boli just mentioned, we introduced Lianhua Qingwen capsule/granule, a drug for virus infections, during the SARS outbreak in 2003. And several domestic academicians, including Mr. Wang Chen and Mr. Zhang Luqi, were inspired to develop Jinhua Qinggan granule to cope with the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. This proves the efficacy of TCM and its role in the fight against modern infectious diseases.

As for new diseases such as COVID-19, these conventional drugs have been put into new use. Clinical studies show that Jinhua Qinggan granule and Lianhua Qingwen capsule/granule have apparent efficacy for the clinical treatment of COVID-19 patients with mild and moderate symptoms and play a significant role, especially in the treatment for COVID-19 in Wuhan.

Xuebijing injection has a clear phased effect in treating "inflammatory storm" and coagulopathy. Just now, Mr. Qiu Haibo gave a detailed introduction about Xuebijing injection. I am not going to elaborate on it anymore.

In the battle against COVID-19 in Wuhan, based on the three methods, we have developed three effective prescriptions from classic ones, namely lung-clearing and detoxing decoction, dampness-eliminating and detoxing prescription, and lung-ventilating and detoxing prescription. This is a process that seeks innovative ways to treat various diseases. Thank you.

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