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TCM has role to contribute in virus fight

By Wu Yong in Wuhan | China Daily | Updated: 2020-02-15 06:59
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A hospital worker sorts out a cart for traditional Chinese medicine at a makeshift cabin hospital in Wuhan on Friday. [Photo by Zhu Xingxin/China Daily]

Cabin hospital in Wuhan accepts its first batch of 50 patients for treatment

A group of 50 patients infected with the novel coronavirus were transferred on Friday to a makeshift cabin hospital in Jiangxia district in Wuhan, the first medical institution entirely managed by traditional Chinese medicine doctors.

The cabin hospital was created by renovating Jiangxia Dahuashan Outdoor Sports Center, which is located in the southern outskirts of the city.

It is divided into five areas and consists of 400 beds, which will expand to 800 beds in the future.

"This is the first hospital that is fully operated by TCM doctors. We want to take full advantage of TCM to cure patients," said Liu Qingquan, executive president of the hospital. He is also president of Beijing Hospital of TCM.

"New drugs and vaccines for the novel coronavirus are still under development.

"However, Chinese traditional medicine has been proved effective in improving patients' immune systems and health condition in recent days. We can contribute to the battle."

Its medical team consists of 209 TCM experts from first tier hospitals in Tianjin municipality and the provinces of Jiangsu, Henan, Hunan and Shanxi. Zhang Boli, president of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, serves as director-general and honorary president of the cabin hospital.

The central government called for the comprehensive use of TCM in the fight against the virus and strengthening the integration of TCM with modern medical treatments.

More than 2,000 TCM experts have joined efforts in Wuhan and they mainly work in Jinyintan, Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine and Jiangxia makeshift cabin hospital, according to the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"I hope to copy Tianjin's experience of fighting SARS in 2003 here in Wuhan, which has proved very effective," said Zhang, who inspected the hospital carefully on Friday.

"I sweated a lot. But I feel very happy because this means that the temperature inside the hospital is more than 25 C. This is vital to fight against the virus."

TCM experts believe that a damp and cold environment is conducive for the propagation of the novel coronavirus. Therefore, keeping warm is key for treatment.

Different from Western medicine's attempt to kill the virus directly, TCM focuses on improving the patient's immunity.

"Our goal is to help patients regain health. Fighting the virus directly is very dangerous for the vulnerable patients who cannot handle strong antibiotics."

Besides the TCM drugs, the hospital will implement a comprehensive treatment of acupuncture, massage and dietary therapy.

Li Dingdian and Liu Jianyu contributed to this story.

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