KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 – At least 95 per cent of COVID-19 patients treated using traditional Chinese medicine in Hubei Province, China have recovered from the disease, says chief physician and vice-president of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dr Li Jun.
Dr Li, who is leading seven other physicians from China on a mission to share experiences of fighting the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia, said the traditional Chinese medicine method was also used to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the region.
Sharing his experience in treating COVID-19 patients in China, he said he was constantly reviewing the effectiveness of various drugs, including the vaccine used to treat the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in 2012.
“We initially expected these drugs to be effective as a result of the SARS and Mers-Cov outbreaks, but when used for COVID-19, they showed adverse effects in some patients.
“Although there is still no vaccine for COVID-19 but for now, traditional Chinese medicine is widely used to treat symptoms such as fever, cough and indigestion for patients in China.
In another news, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is aware that there is no evidence of recovered COVID-19 patients are immune from being re-infected, said Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said that although there was a response to IgM (immunoglobulin M) and IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibodies, it did not protect the patient from being re-infected by the virus.
“Thus far, we (Malaysia) have yet to record a case of second infection but the antibodies are not capable of protecting them. They still need to take precautionary measures and keep utmost hygiene to prevent the second infection,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham said this at a press conference on COVID-19, here, when asked by reporters about the World Health Organisation (WHO) statement that there is no guarantee that those who have recovered from the infection and developed antibodies will not be re-infected.
The WHO also said that detection of antibodies acting on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, does not mean that it can serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate” to allow individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection.
On Malaysians abroad being diagnosed COVID-19 positive, he said the matter would be referred to the MOH’s international health regulatory committee to be recorded.
Malaysians also need to follow the guidelines set in a country they are in before they are allowed to return home.
“For example, if diagnosed COVID-19 positive, they will need to follow the quarantine process in that country and the country will also notify us if the case is to return home,” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham reiterated that no healthcare workers on duty in COVID-19 wards or those treating patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) have contracted COVID-19.
He said more than 80 per cent of healthcare workers got the virus from the community, through events such as weddings and gatherings, rather than while serving on the COVID-19 ward.
He also stressed that the infection was not due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers both in the public and private hospitals as they were required to wear full PPE before treating patients as the infection also come from those diagnosed with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and influenza-like illness ( ILI).