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Traditional Chinese medicine gains wider acceptance overseas in fighting COVID-19

China is sharing the experience of using TCM in the treatment of COVID-19 with foreign countries as clinical observation shows that in Hubei, the province hit hardest by the virus in China, more than 90 percent of the infected patients received TCM treatment that was proven effective. 

A recent example of how popular TCM is in China in preventing and treating COVID-19 is that after Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory expert, said last week that Banlangen granules, a common TCM in treatment of cold, might be able to inhibit coronavirus, the medicine immediately sold out across China.

Most of the medical teams dispatched by the Chinese government to aid the fight against COVID-19 in other countries include TCM doctors and Chinese organizations and institutions have donated TCM medicines, herbs, acupuncture needles and other instruments to more than a dozen countries and regions.

During this global health crisis, TCM appears to be winning more recognition overseas, not only among the public, but also government officials. 

Even though TCM has been more popular overseas, its usage in hospitals for treating COVID-19 still faces great barriers in many countries.

Since Chinese and Western medical systems have great differences, the TCM has not been accepted by Western market. In other countries, Chinese medicines could only be sold as health products or food, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The report quoted insiders by saying that the situation is due to cultural differences, as well as gaps in legal systems. “Each country has its own regulation and standards on medicines, but TCM experiments are relatively difficult, therefore it is very hard to be approved by other countries.”

Despite the bias and questioning from some foreign media over TCM and its effectiveness in treating the disease, it is still receiving rising recognition in many countries and regions worldwide.

Lianhua Qingwen capsule has been licensed in more than 10 countries and regions including Canada, Indonesia, Brazil and Romania, and has started its registration work in more than 30 countries around the world, according to the company.

Demand for TCM in Italy and other infected countries surged in June, as different from Western medicine that initiates treatment when patients get confirmed by a test, TCM therapies offer treatment based on symptoms not only for confirmed but also suspected cases. 

In August, Shanghai Cooperation Organization Secretary General Vladimir Norov delivered a special award to a TCM producer Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical Co for its contribution to the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic in SCO member states, marking a growing recognition of the TCM and its role in treating the disease not only in China but also overseas.

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