WHO removes guidance against taking herbal remedies for COVID-19 in different language versions

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/10 10:18:40

WHO scraps rules against TCM remedies for virus

Doctors check the information of patients in Leishenshan Hospital of Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo: cnsphotos)

The WHO said the temporary discrepancy in its online content, in which its English version of COVID-19 guidelines suggested people "do not take traditional herbal remedies" while the same line did not exist in its Chinese version, is due to unsynchronized content update in different languages. 

The discrepancy previously sparked controversy over suspicions that the WHO is operating under different standards for different countries. 

As of Tuesday, the line has been removed from all versions, the Global Times reporter found. 

In a reply emailed to the Global Times, the WHO said that it held an editorial meeting on March 4 on the issue of recommending against herbal remedies and decided that the guidance was "too broad" and failed to take into account the fact that "many people turn to traditional medicines to alleviate some of the milder symptoms of COVID-19."

The line was removed from the Chinese version of the page on March 6, the English version on March 7, and the other UN languages on March 8. The update to web content does not happen in synch as it takes time for the teams to work on each page, WHO said. 

The WHO also said that it would update the guidance on its website regularly as scientific research on the epidemic evolves and the public raises further concerns or questions.   

The effectiveness of traditional herbal remedies against COVID-19 has been discussed heatedly in China. Many hospitals across the country have used a combination of traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) and Western medicines to treat patients since the outbreak. 

According to national authorities, TCM has been used on more than 60,000 COVID patients as of mid-February and symptoms on 92 percent of them have improved after taking the medicine. 

While many skeptics say there is no evidence demonstrating TCM's effectiveness against the novel coronavirus or how it works on patients, the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, said on its website on March 4 that they have verified the effectiveness of 16 kinds of TCM on animals.


Newspaper headline: WHO scraps rules against TCM remedies for virus

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus