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Global Times

Chinese medical experts share COVID-19 treatment experience with peers abroad

Global Times

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/3/22 13:12:35

Chinese experts in traditional Chinese and western medicines have shared their experience via video call in treating COVID-19 patients with peers from Italy, the United States, Belgium, Japan and the World Health Organization.

"The best experience of China is to admit all patients to hospital," Zhou Ning, a cardiologist at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, said at the video call Friday night.

"As COVID-19 is highly contagious, to have patients with mild symptoms quarantined at home is like spreading fire everywhere, which will finally lead to the infection of a whole family," he said.

"Doing so can also prevent patients with mild symptoms from progressing into severe cases, which therefore decreases the fatality rate," Zhou added.

The opinion was echoed by Li Guangxi, director of the pulmonary division of Beijing's Guang'anmen Hospital, who believed that patients should get early treatment. "We need to focus on the first week of the disease. It is the golden window to prevent disease development from mild to severe."

COVID-19 has a high fatality rate, said Jeffrey Shaman, a US professor of Environmental Health Sciences in Columbia University. "It has a fat tail where there is a portion of the population for which outcomes are quite severe."

For the treatment of severe and critical patients, Zhou said Tongji's experience is using a ventilation system to supply enough oxygen, using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machines, and curbing the disease's inflammatory storm by blood purification.

"We used steroids very generally. It's very helpful for the patients whose oxygenation index is very low," Zhou said. "But I don't think anti-bacterial is very useful, especially in the early stage, as COVID-19 is a virus disease instead of one caused by bacteria."

Li also highly recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicine. "We use different Chinese herbs for patients and they do get quite good recovery."

About 96.37 percent of the COVID-19 patients outside Hubei, the hardest-hit province, and 91.05 percent in Hubei have received TCM treatment, according to the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

"The nucleic acid testing, the binding on confirmed cases or people who are exposed to those cases, and isolating everybody were done very successfully in Wuhan. This is what needs to be done," Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson on COVID-19, said in the video conference.

"We are very thankful for the great work that's been done in China and other Asian countries, because it's demonstrating it is possible to stop this outbreak," Harris added.

The Chinese mainland reported 46 new confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, of which 45 were imported from abroad, according to the National Health Commission.

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