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

China News Service:

The number of patients infected with COVID-19 has been reduced remarkably in the hospitals in Wuhan and Hubei province in general. Many of the remaining patients are severely or critically ill. For these patients, how could TCM play a bigger role in treating them? Thank you.

Liu Qingquan:

Thank you for your question. The issue you raised is very important. The treatment and cure of critically-ill patients is very important to the reduction of mortality rate at the moment. I am a doctor of intensive care medicine and an emergency physician, except that I study critical care medicine from a TCM perspective. In recent clinical treatment of COVID-19 patients over a period of more than two months, I have been talking to Director Qiu Haibo and Professor Du Bin about the relevant issues. In the two-month period, we gradually gathered experience in treating patients with a combination of TCM and Western medicine to reduce mortality. The National Health Commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine built a team of experts to offer guidance to conduct coordinated TCM and Western medicine treatment to treat the severe cases. TCM and Western medicine professionals worked together to treat patients with a combination of medicinal methods. Western medicine's life support technologies are very important methods to treat critically-ill patients, such as use of ventilators, hemofiltration, ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), and maintaining water and electrolyte balance. TCM doctors have used medicines such as Da Huang (Rheum palmatum L.) to clear the hollow viscera to tackle asynchrony between patient and ventilator while lowering dosage and shortening duration in use of tranquilizer, painkiller and muscle relaxant. Medicines such as Shenmai Injection, Shengmai Injection and Pure Ginseng Decoction were used to stabilize the circulatory system and blood oxygen saturation. Xuebijing Injection was used as a therapeutic intervention for cytokine storm. TCM methods have been working well in coordinated treatments. 

In the process of visiting patients while integrating TCM and Western medicine therapies, our Western medicine experts focus on standardizing the treatments, such as through the use of mechanical ventilation, the use of hemofiltration, choosing the best time for tracheal intubation, and so on. TCM doctors, based on such problems mentioned above, have promoted the use of TCM for the severe and critically ill patients. The organic combination of TCM and Western medicine brings out the strengths in one while making up for the other's weaknesses, thereby reducing the mortality rate. These are indispensable Chinese experiences in treating severe and critically ill patients with COVID-19 and reducing the mortality rate. In the global response to the epidemic, these experiences can be provided to countries around the world for use, and ultimately help the mortality rate of severe and critically ill patients decline further, and further alleviate the condition. Thank you.

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