Clinical Use of Chinese Medicine in the Current COVID-19 Crisis and Related Research Planning - Abstract
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, since the crisis started in China, extensive reports regularly came out from China National Health Authorities and individual epidemiological and viral experts of different origins, giving the up-date data of the spread and treatment regularly. Reports concerning the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine were plenty. Collection and analysis of the rich data provide good understanding how Tradition Chinese Medicine was utilized in the combat against the COVID-19 infection. Early reports obviously emphasized the treatment aspects. Later reports had more information on the preventive side since the overall clinical presentation of COVID-19 involved many mild cases, treatment of which, using herbal medicine, should resemble situations of prevention before the actual contraction of the infection. Later, the National Bureau of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Committee on Public Health and Hygiene gave proper recommendations on the prevention side and advocated the joint utilization of one common herbal formula. Apart from critically looking at the clinical value of the selected common herbal formula, the basic mechanisms leading to prevention: how is personal protection achieved need to be explored. Could it be related to the boosting of the innate immunological system? This could be the direction of current research planning. The plan of research involves a systematic investigation on how the innate immunological system respond to the herbal treatment. The research procedures under planning concentrate on the in-vitro and in-vivo investigations in laboratory platforms on the responses to herbal treatment. A small pilot study will further strengthen the evidences when 30-40 healthy volunteers will get their blood checked before and after consumption of the innovative formula. The herbal formula recommended by the Chinese Authorities will not be used as the target of investigation since it contains 21 herbs one of which (Asarum) is well known for renal toxicity. Instead, an innovative formula of simpler composition that has won good clinical trust in the SARS crisis of Hong Kong in 2003 will be the subject of study, to be investigated together with Vitamin D as a coupling supplement for infection prevention of the respiratory tract.