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The role played by traditional Chinese medicine in preventing and treating COVID-19 in China


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), an ancient system of alternative medicine, played an active role in the prevention and control of COVID-19 in China. It improved the clinical symptoms of patients, reduced the mortality rate, improved the recovery rate, and effectively relieved the operating pressure on the national medical system during critical conditions. In light of the current global pandemic, TCM-related measures might open up a new channel in the control of COVID-19 in other countries and regions. Here, we summarize the TCM-related measures that were widely used in China, including TCM guidelines, the Wuchang pattern, mobile cabin hospitals, integrated treatment of TCM and modern medicine for critical patients, and non-medicine therapy for convalescent patients, and describe how TCM effectively treated patients afflicted with the COVID-19. Effective TCM therapies could, therefore, be recommended and practiced based on the existing medical evidence from increased scientific studies.


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This work was supported by National Science and Technology Emergency Research Project — Clinical Research on the Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 with Integrated Chinese and Modern Medicine (No. 2020YFC0841600), National Classification of Project “Public Safety Risk Prevention and Emergency Technology Equipment” Special Key Project — Clinical Evaluation of Traditional Chinese Medical Intervention on Convalescent COVID-19 (No. 2020YFC0845000).

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Correspondence to Linhua Zhao or Xiaolin Tong.

Ethics declarations

Qingwei Li, Han Wang, Xiuyang Li, Yujiao Zheng, Yu Wei, Pei Zhang, Qiyou Ding, Jiaran Lin, Shuang Tang, Yikun Zhao, Linhua Zhao, and Xiaolin Tong declare that they have no competing interests. All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000 (5). Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Li, Q., Wang, H., Li, X. et al. The role played by traditional Chinese medicine in preventing and treating COVID-19 in China. Front. Med. 14, 681–688 (2020).

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  • traditional Chinese medicine
  • COVID-19
  • Wuchang pattern
  • mobile cabin hospital
  • convalescent patients
  • three formulae and three medicines