The State Council Information Office held a press conference at 10am, Thursday, March 26, 2020, to brief on the international cooperation of COVID-19 response in China. When introducing the ongoing jobs and answering questions, Xu Nanping, Vice Minister, Ministry of Science and Technology, and Zeng Yixing, Vice Minister, National Health Commission, mentioned TCM.
Xu Nanping stated that, after the outbreak, the virus strains were isolated as soon as possible by the Chinese researchers and the full-length genome sequence of the virus was shared with WHO, which laid an important basis for the global scientists to develop drugs, vaccines and diagnostic techniques. China has increasing the knowledge of the pathogenesis and transmission of the virus, which provides a scientific basis for the containing strategies. A series of therapeutics have been screened and evaluated, such as chloroquine, Favipiravir, Tocilizumab some TCM formulas and drugs, the convalescent plasma therapy, stem cell therapy, artificial extracorporeal liver support therapy. A protocol was developed for the treatment of different types of cases. With a short time, the testing techniques were developed and improved, such as the novel coronavirus nucleic acid test and IgM-IgG test. Five technical routes were coordinated to develop vaccines, and the clinical trial of a recombinant novel coronavirus vaccine gained its approval on March 16.
Xu Nanping expressed that, the science and technology community has done a lot work, focusing on the R&D of effective drugs and the clinical treatment. A relatively complete protocol has been established. From the point of the protocol, the results could be summarized in the following aspects. First, for the mild and moderate cases, the TCM drugs and treatment could effectively relieve the symptoms and increase the cure rate. In a makeshift hospital with 456 mild patients, TCM treatment was very effective and no one developed severe symptoms. Second, in the aspect of antiviral therapy, the screened drugs has shown their therapeutic effect, such as chloroquine phosphate, Favipiravir and kelimycin, the significance of which lies in the reduction of mild and moderate cases progressing to severe and critical. It is a very important point. Third, for the treatment of severe and critical cases, the developed drugs and therapies reduced the case fatality rate, such as the convalescent plasma, stem cell therapy, Tocilizumab, artificial extracorporeal liver support therapy.
Zeng Yixin answered the question about the jobs of the expert teams sent to overseas. He stated that, in the request of the governments of Italy, Serbia and Cambodia and with the coordinated deployment of the central government, the anti-epidemic medical expert teams were sent abroad, which were composed of experts in public health, epidemiology, clinical treatment, psychology and TCM. The teams share the Chinese experience and communicated with the local experts and medical institutions and give advice on disease control, clinical treatment and diagnosis, community management according to the local context. They also provide medical advice and assistance to the overseas Chinese, within the local regulations and with the support of the Chinese embassies.