Experts discuss role of Traditional Chinese Medicine in battling COVID-19

Published July 19, 2021, 6:43 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Chinese medical experts and Philippine officials have exchanged views on their respective experiences in battling COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) even as the government in Manila expressed its appreciation of China’s assistance to the country’s response to the pandemic, including in-kind and vaccine donations, and the sharing of best practices and know-how to their Filipino counterparts.

Webinar entitled “Learning from the China COVID-19 Experience” (PAITC)

At the webinar entitled “Learning from the China COVID-19 Experience,” experts also discussed Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its important contributions in curbing the further spread of coronavirus in China. Held last July 13, the virtual event was co-hosted by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Philippine Archipelago International Trading Corporation (PAITC).

In his welcome remarks, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. thanked Beijing saying that the partnership with China from the start made the Philippines feel it is not alone in battling the pandemic.

“Perhaps the definitive cure will come from the other side of the world, but that won’t change the consolation that on this side of the world from the get-go, we had you. Thank you, China, from the bottom of my heart,” the foreign secretary added.

Prominent Chinese medical experts Zhang Boli, Honorary President of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Dr. Jia Zhenhua, President of the Hebei Institute of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine made their separate discussions on what could be learned from China’s experience on control and surge prevention aspect of the pandemic.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Lianhua Qingwen (PAITC)

Dr. Jia Zhenhua discussed the utilization of TCM in the prevention and treatment of respiratory infectious disease in China as he explained COVID-19 based on Collateral Disease Theory and how it is treated using traditional Chinese medicines.

A recipient of the national honorary title of “People’s Hero” in August 2020, Dr. Jia noted the use of Lianhua Qingwen which is now widely in use and distributed in the Philippines.

Academician Zhang Boli, one of the most prominent figures in China’s fight against COVID-19, said he considers the COVID-19 as the “Plague of the Century.”

In his presentation, Zhang showed data explaining the effects and evolution of the virus and how preventive measures were initially executed. He discussed the importance of early intervention to reduce severe conversion rate and the integration of Chinese and Western medicine with comprehensive rehabilitation treatment such as breathing training, physical therapy, Tai-chi, psycho-therapy to prevent after-effects of the Covid-19 infection such as physical injury (damage to immune function, heart, lung and kidney) and psychological trauma such as insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Zhang mentioned that another traditional Chinese medicine, Xuanfei Baidu Decoction, is also widely used in China against COVID-19.

“Quarantine without medicine is only half the success,” Zhang said as he stressed the importance of sharing their knowledge to the world about traditional medicine through donations made to different countries and holding webinars with other countries like the Philippines.

PAITC President Olivia Limpe-Aw, co-organizer of the webinar noted some similarities in terms of experiences, government policies and values of both countries, specifically in the areas of early intervention, quarantine with medication, integration of Chinese and western medicine with rehabilitation treatment, and all other help to increase the curative rate and reduce the mortality rate. Limpe-Aw is the holder of EUA (emergency use authorization) of Sputnik V vaccine supply to the Philippines.

Baguio City Mayor and National Task Force Contact Tracing Czar Benjamin Magalong joined the panel’s discussion by narrating how they navigated through the pandemic through proactive contact tracing efforts that enabled them to control the spread of the disease. He said they immediately employed a strategy called Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate (PDITR) to cut the transmission chain.

National Task Force Deputy Chief Implementor and Testing Czar Secretary Vince Dizon gave an overview of the country’s National Vaccination Program as he thanked the Chinese foreign service representatives for their continuous supply of Chinese vaccines.

To date, China remains the country’s largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines specifically Sinovac, with 11 million doses procured and one million doses donated by the Chinese government.