Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) are beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19, particularly mild-to-moderate cases, according to a new report released by the World Health Organization.
It also encourages member states to consider the potential use of TCM for the management of COVID-19 in the context of their health care systems and regulatory frameworks.
The report came in late March after a WHO Expert Meeting on Evaluation of TCMs in the Treatment of COVID-19 was held virtually from February 28 to March 2.
The meeting gathered 21 international experts from the six WHO regions to consider three reports, including on clinical service, research and evidence-based evaluation provided by national expert groups in China.
According to the WHO report, there are also promising data to suggest that TCM is beneficial in reducing the risk of progression from mild-to-moderate cases to severe COVID-19.
For mild-to-moderate cases, the report noted there is encouraging evidence that the studied TCMs, when administered as add-on interventions to conventional treatment, may shorten the time for viral clearance, resolution of clinical symptoms and length of hospital stay when compared to conventional treatment alone.
Meanwhile, experts hold that the studied TCM interventions, given in addition to conventional treatment, were well tolerated and have a safety profile that is comparable to that of conventional treatment alone.
There is also encouraging evidence that early application of TCM may result in better clinical outcomes for patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19, the report added.
Based on the findings, the report recommends that the WHO share the outcomes of the meeting with member states in a timely manner, given the evolving nature of COVID-19 globally.
For member states, in addition to considering the potential use of TCMs, it is also recommended that they share experiences and lessons, particularly those actively acquired through this organized research program in TCM and clinical experience from China.
Participants of the expert meeting expressed their appreciation of the significant investment and effort made by the Chinese government and its researchers to advance knowledge and to develop therapeutics for the management of COVID-19 from the outset of the current pandemic.
They added that further research is warranted on TCM for the treatment of COVID-19 since the progress to date lays a strong foundation for international collaboration and cooperation that will potentially benefit human health globally through more effective and appropriate application of TCM for COVID-19.