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Table of Contents
REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 124-131

Comprehensive comparison and analysis of the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome with traditional chinese medicine


1 Key Laboratory of Chinese Internal Medicine of Ministry of Education, Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine; First Clinical Medical College, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China
2 Key Laboratory of Chinese Internal Medicine of Ministry of Education, Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China

Date of Submission24-Feb-2020
Date of Acceptance26-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Mar-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Hong-Cai Shang
Dongzhimen Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100700
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/wjtcm.wjtcm_13_20

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  Abstract 


Since December 2019 the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has erupted in many places around the world, which is strong infectious and highly epidemic. After the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been in the front line of the fight against the epidemic. It has shown characteristics and advantages in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. TCM also played an important role in the winter of 2002 and in the spring of 2003 during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). This article compares the strategies, programs, measures, resource investments, and effects of TCM for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 with those for SARS. At present, the involvement of TCM has been earlier, faster, and more comprehensive in the fight against the epidemic and has shown good clinical efficacy and treatment prospects.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019, prevention and treatment of traditional Chinese medicine, severe acute respiratory syndrome


How to cite this article:
Chen Y, Zhang JJ, Liu Y, Shang HC. Comprehensive comparison and analysis of the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome with traditional chinese medicine. World J Tradit Chin Med 2020;6:124-31

How to cite this URL:
Chen Y, Zhang JJ, Liu Y, Shang HC. Comprehensive comparison and analysis of the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome with traditional chinese medicine. World J Tradit Chin Med [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 24];6:124-31. Available from: http://www.wjtcm.net/text.asp?2020/6/2/124/280534




  Introduction Top


Since December 2019 the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has erupted in many places around the world. It is strongly infectious and highly epidemic. The National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China has classified it as a Class B legal infectious disease. COVID-19 cases are being treated as per the prevention and control measures of Class A infectious diseases.[1] The National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China reported that as of 00:00 on February 24, 2020, there were 47,672 confirmed cases (including 9126 severe cases), 27,323 cured and discharged patients, a total of 2663 deaths, 77,658 confirmed cases, and 2824 suspected cases.[2] Coronavirus is highly pathogenic, and has gradually become an important factor threatening global public health.[3] The virus that caused the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in China from the winter of 2002 to the spring of 2003 belonged to the coronavirus family. SARS was classified as a Class B legal infectious disease by the Law of the People's Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases. It was treated as per the prevention and control measures of Class A infectious diseases. According to WHO statistics, more than 8400 SARS cases were reported in 32 countries and regions around the world, including more than 7700 cases in China (including Taiwan). The mortality rate was 11% globally, 17% in Hong Kong, 27% in Taiwan, and 7% in the mainland of China.[4]

Both COVID-19 and SARS belong to the category of “epidemic disease” in the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The Inner Canon of Huangdi states the following: “When plagues occur, people easily infect each other, regardless of the elderly and children, their symptoms are similar.” It emphasized that plagues were contagious and highly similar in their clinical manifestations.[5] TCM is widely used to treat fever and infectious diseases. It shows great advantages in halting the disease progression, shortening the disease course, improving the curative effect, and promoting the rehabilitation of patients.[3] TCM has played an important role in the fights against both COVID-19 and SARS epidemics. This article presents a comprehensive comparison and analysis of the strategies, programs, measures, resource investments, and effects of TCM in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and SARS.


  Comparison of Preventive and Treatment Strategies Top


Since the occurrence of COVID-19, TCM has quickly participated in the fight against the epidemic. It has played an important role in its prevention and treatment, similar to that during the epidemic of SARS. Herein, we compare the preventive and treatment strategies of TCM in COVID-19 and SARS [Table 1]. Compared with that during SARS outbreak, the preventive and treatment strategies of TCM responded more promptly. These strategies were promoted rapidly in this epidemic.
Table 1: Comparison of the preventive and treatment strategies of traditional Chinese medicine in coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome

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  Comparison of the Preventive and Therapeutic Programs Top


After the outbreak of the epidemic, the diagnosis and treatment programs for COVID-19 with TCM were quickly released. Compared with those during SARS, these programs were released much earlier, faster, and more extensively. These programs have been updated several times since their release. Moreover, each province (autonomous region and municipality), as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, formulated a provincial-level TCM-based treatment program, in addition to those for the four provinces (regions) of Shanxi, Anhui, Fujian, and Qinghai. This ensured the full involvement of TCM in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic [18],[19] [Table 2].
Table 2: Comparison of the traditional Chinese medicine-based preventive and treatment programs for coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome

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  Comparison of the Preventive and Treatment Measures Top


TCM was used in the period of prevention, isolation, and observation; clinical treatment; and rehabilitation of COVID-19 and SARS. More TCM programs were released at every stage of the prevention and treatment during the COVID-19 epidemic than those during the SARS epidemic. Moreover, there were provincial (municipal) TCM programs at each stage of the prevention and treatment process. The involvement of TCM has become more extensive presently than that during the SARS epidemic [Table 3].
Table 3: Comparison of the preventive and treatment measures for coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome with traditional Chinese medicine

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  Comparison of the Resource Investments for Prevention and Treatment Top


[Table 4] shows the comparison of the clinical resource investments in TCM between the COVID-19 and SARS epidemics. [Table 5] shows the comparison of the resource investments for scientific research in TCM between the COVID-19 and SARS epidemics. In clinical settings, compared with that during the SARS epidemic, a higher number of TCM doctors and nurses have been involved in supporting the Hubei Province in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. Thirty-one provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps have set up provincial expert teams on TCM. TCM-based prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has been carried out more comprehensively. In scientific research, the projects involving special emergency have been initiated more rapidly. These projects are led by academicians to solve key scientific and technological problems.
Table 4: Comparison of the resource investments for traditional Chinese medicine-based prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome in clinical settings

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Table 5: Comparison of the resource investments in scientific research for the prevention and treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome with traditional Chinese medicine

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  Comparison of the Prevention and Treatment Effects Top


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, TCM has been at the forefront of the anti-epidemic fight and achieved good results. Until February 17, 2020, a total of 60,107 confirmed cases were being treated with TCM, accounting for 85.20% of the total reported cases, as compared with 58.28% during the SARS period. [Table 6] lists the effects of TCM on the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 that have been reported in some provinces (municipalities). It also lists the effects of TCM on the prevention and treatment of SARS in some designated hospitals in Guangzhou and Beijing.
Table 6: Comparison of the preventive and therapeutic effects of traditional Chinese medicine for coronavirus disease 2019 and severe acute respiratory syndrome

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  Summary and Prospect Top


Epidemic diseases have been recorded historically as early as during the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods.[43] TCM has long recognized that the epidemic of plague was the result of the comprehensive actions of many factors in a given time and space. A physician named Youke Wu, at the end of the Ming Dynasty, wrote The Theory of Febrile Diseases. It was the first monograph on febrile diseases in the history of medical development in China.[44] In modern times, TCM is still advantageous for the prevention and treatment of plague. It has made an important contribution to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and SARS. However, in the early stage of the SARS epidemic, limited attention was paid on the role of TCM in the prevention and treatment of SARS. At that time, there was no effective treatment for SARS in modern medicine. However, the hospital of TCM in Guangdong Province successfully treated patients with SARS using integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine. It was only then that people gradually realized the importance of TCM. The advantages of early TCM-based treatment and the opportunity to collect a large amount of data were missed.[45]

In recent years, some important policies related to TCM have been issued, such as Opinions of the State Council on Supporting and Promoting the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Law of the People's Republic of China on Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Opinions of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council on Promoting the Inheritance and Innovative Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This support for TCM has led to new opportunities for its development. Compared with that during the SARS epidemic, TCM has participated earlier, faster, and more comprehensively in the front line of the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. In terms of preventive and treatment strategies, the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine set up a leading group for the rapid prevention and control of COVID-19. The prevention and treatment of COVID-19 with TCM is being promoted rapidly. In terms of preventive and treatment programs, the National Health Commission and the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine have issued four versions of TCM-based diagnosis and treatment programs including one revised version. Each province (autonomous region and municipality) as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps formulated provincial-level TCM-based treatment programs, in addition to those for the four provinces (regions) of Shanxi, Anhui, Fujian, and Qinghai. These programs combined the characteristics of the local climate and clinical practice. In terms of preventive and treatment measures, TCM has been used in the period of prevention, isolation, and observation; clinical treatment; and rehabilitation of COVID-19. In terms of the resource investments for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19, until February 17, 2020, more than 630 TCM hospitals in 28 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) have sent more than 3100 doctors and nurses to support Hubei. Until February 21, 2020, five national TCM medical teams have been sent to Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, Jiangxia Fangcang Hospital, and Leishenshan Hospital. These four hospitals are important designated hospitals for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.[46],[47],[48],[49],[50] The National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine has rapidly started two special emergency projects led by academicians to solve key scientific and technological problems. In terms of preventive and treatment effects, until February 17, 2020, a total of 60,107 confirmed cases were being treated with TCM, accounting for 85.20% of the total reported cases, which is a significant increase compared with 58.28% during the SARS epidemic. The early intervention of TCM could block further development of COVID-19, shorten its clinical course, improve the clinical symptoms of patients, reduce the use of hormones, reduce complications, and reduce sequelae. Moreover, TCM has good clinical effects and treatment prospects.

Financial support and sponsorship

This study was funded by the National Program for Ten-thousand Talents (W02020052).

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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