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TCM plays key role in treatment of NCP

Eighteen people infected with the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, Hubei province, have recovered and were discharged from a local hospital on Thursday after receiving treatment that combined traditional Chinese and Western medicine.
The former patients range in age from 23 to 67 years old, and one of them had been in critical condition, said Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine. That patient was hospitalized for 18 days, the longest among the 18 patients, the hospital said.
Liu Qingquan, head of the Beijing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, affiliated with Capital Medical University, guided the treatment. That these 18 patients have now been discharged shows that TCM can play an important role in treating patients with novel coronavirus, for which an effective Western medicine alternative is still unavailable, Liu said.
"Some patients with less serious cases were cured in just six days," he said. "TCM has proved to help improve conditions for patients with serious conditions."
In addition to prescribing TCM medications for the patients, doctors also adopted TCM techniques such as acupuncture to help in treatments, said Wang Junfei, a TCM physician from Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, who was sent to assist patients in Wuhan.
"Some of the patients refused to accept TCM at first for various reasons. But their conditions soon improved after taking TCM medication, with symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and fatigue greatly eased," Wang said.
Xia Wenguang, deputy head of the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, said about 190 people infected with the virus have been receiving treatment in the hospital every day, and all of them receive TCM in addition to Western treatments.
"Most of their conditions have improved," Xia said, adding that some patients -such as the elderly and those with chronic diseases - are still at a higher risk.
Zhang Boli, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said many hospitals in Hubei are integrating TCM with Western medicine to treat coronavirus patients.
"In the case of the 18 patients released today, TCM dominated their treatment," Zhang said. "But for some serious cases, Western medicine practices of supplying oxygen and antiviral treatments were also used."
Liu said TCM has been used to fight infectious diseases for thousands of years in China, and the experiences can be better used to help treat infectious diseases in modern times.
"We have borrowed the experiences of ancient Chinese in treating infectious diseases in finding TCM treatments for diseases," he said. "But we need further research on TCM treatment of diseases, and more case studies are needed."
Liu added that: "Compared with the rapid development of Western medicine in recent years, research into TCM has declined. We need to put more importance on TCM and draw on the legacy of TCM treatment of acute diseases to help us fight infectious diseases today."

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