A clinical trial is underway at S’pore to use Lianhua Qingwen TCM pills to treat Covid-19

SINGAPORE — A clinical trial is ongoing here to see if Lianhua Qingwen Jiao Nang Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) capsules can help treat some Covid-19 patients.

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said on Wednesday (April 20) that the purpose of the study is to assess what impact the pills, when given on top of current standard medical treatment, could have on the time that fully vaccinated adults at home need recovery with mild Covid-19 to recover from their symptoms.

The study also aims to assess how the medicine may affect the time it takes someone to get a negative rapid antigen test (ART) result.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was initiated by the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution and approved by the HSA on January 18th.

The principal investigators of the study are Dr. Zuraimi Mohamed Dahlan from Banyan Clinic @ JW and Dr. Ong Sze Tat from Ubi Family Clinic and Surgery.

dr Zuraimi told The Straits Times on Wednesday that a study in China showed the pills were effective in improving symptoms in Covid-19 patients.

However, in order to prove this scientifically, a proper double-blind, randomized study is required, which is why the study was launched.

He added that researchers need to recruit at least 300 patients aged 21 to 79 who have just tested positive for the coronavirus.

Half of the patients receive the TCM pills while the other half receive a placebo. Patients in both groups must take the pills three times a day for seven days.

Every day, researchers call patients and get feedback on their ART status, pulse oximetry, and well-being.

Researchers hope to complete the study in six months, said Dr. Zuraimi.

A description of the study on clinicaltrials.gov, a website of the United States National Library of Medicine, states that the study investigators hypothesized that a TCM intervention could help reduce eight of the key clinical symptoms of Covid-19. 19 disappear 1½ times faster in patients with mild Covid-19 recovering at home.

“Due to the limited availability and prioritization of approved antiviral drugs (Paxlovid) for moderate and severe inpatients, validation of the TCM intervention (Lianhua Qingwen) as a good adjuvant treatment for the local population in the home recovery program is important,” states in the description.

It added that “(the research) aims to support policymakers to include clinically proven TCM treatment for mild Covid-19 patients in the home recovery program and to provide guidance for a TCM pandemic treatment protocol that.” suitable to be integrated into the health care system”. .

Those interested in participating in the study can call Ubi Family Clinic & Surgery at 6749-7922 or Banyan Clinic @ JW at 6899-1161.

Clinics willing to participate in recruiting patients for the study can contact the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution at 8028-0096.

Last November, the HSA warned of claims circulating on social media and Telegram chat groups that Lianhua Qingwen products could be used to prevent or treat Covid-19.

At the time, HSA said: “To date, there is no scientific evidence from randomized clinical trials showing that any herbal product, including Lianhua Qingwen products, can be used to prevent or treat Covid-19.”

It added: “The HSA requires any product claiming to treat Covid-19 to have scientific evidence from controlled clinical trials to show that such a product is safe and effective against Covid-19. Such a product must first be submitted to the HSA for evaluation of the scientific evidence and be registered before it can be deployed on site.”

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