About 98 per cent of Shanghai’s COVID-19 patients are taking TCM treatment, and teams of TCM workers have fanned out to designated hospitals and quarantine sites since the latest outbreak began in March, Fang said.
China’s health authority has recommended several TCM drugs and ingredients, such as Lianhua Qingwen, for use by COVID-19 patients, although a lack of reliable clinical data limits their use outside the country.
Singapore, which has a large ethnic Chinese population, said in November there was no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen, could be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
It advised the use of all herbal products formulated for common cold and flu only to manage symptoms such as headaches, runny or blocked noses, sore throats and coughs.
In 2020, the US regulator the Food and Drugs Administration, warned vendors of Lianhua Qingwen to stop selling it as a COVID-19 treatment.
Officials in Shanghai’s district of Hongkou have distributed 722,000 boxes of Lianhua Qingwen capsules, and aim to give all residents preventive TCM medicines such as herbs and tea bags, said the Shanghai Daily, which is owned by the local government.
Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, the maker of Lianhua Qingwen, has said a 2020 clinical trial showed that it could, along with conventional therapy, relieve COVID-19 symptoms such as fever and cough.
China approved several treatments including Pfizer Inc’s Paxlovid and Brii Biosciences Ltd’s antibody-based medicine to treat COVID-19 patients, but it is not clear how widely they are used.