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Medical SOE helps Shanghai in COVID-19 fight with TCM playing vital role

By WU YONG in Shenyang and ZHUANG QIANGE in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-22 09:39
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Yifang employees ready TCM products for delivery to Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Facing the resurgence of the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, State-owned medical enterprises are sparing no efforts to help the metropolis' residents get back on track to normal life as soon as possible.

As one such SOE currently fighting against the contagion in Shanghai, Yifang Pharmaceutical Co Ltd is leveraging its edge in traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, to safeguard the safety of residents.

According to the company, as of Tuesday, it had donated some 1 million bags of TCM, with various functions in the anti-COVID-19 battle, to Shanghai.

"To protect as many people as we can is the ultimate goal of the battle in Shanghai. As an SOE, we must bear in mind our role in the battle, which is to deliver more anti-pandemic supplies to the front line," said Wei Mei, chairman of Yifang.

"Yifang will spare no efforts to help safeguard the lives of residents to the last moment till the end of the pandemic, and ensure the supply of our products."

A subsidiary of China Traditional Chinese Medicine Holdings Co Ltd (China TCM) under the Sinopharm Group, Yifang is a leading enterprise specializing in modern TCM production. With an eye to the daily healthcare demands in China, the company has been actively integrating its research and development to have TCM play a bigger role in promoting healthier conditions in China.

Giving full play to the role of TCM is China's anti-pandemic wisdom, which has been well-proved in several shockwaves of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

According to an expert meeting held by the WHO on the evaluation of TCM in the treatment of COVID-19 from Feb 28 to March 2 this year, in addition to routine treatments, the results from the studied TCMs suggest that, based on clinically relevant outcome measures, the studied TCMs are beneficial in the treatment of COVID-19, particularly in mild-to-moderate cases.

The HuaShiBaiDu Formula is one such TCM that has been applied in some parts of the nation, including Wuhan, Hubei province, to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

This same TCM is also recommended as a therapeutic drug in the notification issued by the National Health Commission on the latest Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Trial Version 9).

From January to April 2022, Yifang has supplied millions of bags of the HuaShiBaiDu Formula to Shanghai, Jilin and Guangdong provinces, Wei said.

"We have applied the HuaShiBaiDu Formula to the makeshift hospitals, which showed very good results. TCM plays a crucial role in fighting the pandemic," said Fang Bangjiang, head of the TCM experts at the Shanghai New International Expo Center makeshift hospital and director of the emergency department of Longhua Hospital Affiliated with the Shanghai University of TCM.

It is a great challenge for pharmaceutical factories to ensure production and logistics distribution when many cities reported infected cases recently.

"As a pharmaceutical enterprise, our mission is to boost our efforts to help patients recover," Wei said.

At present, Yifang's eight production lines have recovered production and been given priority to producing pandemic prevention TCM.

Apart from TCM production, disrupted logistics poses another challenge. To deliver TCM to patients in time, Yifang first transported them to Zhejiang province by air and then to Shanghai by trucks.

"Our drivers stayed in the trucks for nearly 10 hours until they delivered the product to the makeshift hospitals," said Chen Peng, Shanghai branch manager of Yifang, who has been working continuously since the current outbreak began.

"It is a challenging job for me. But seeing our products working for the residents sweeps all the fears and exhaustion away," Chen said.

Qian Yizhu contributed to this story.

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