A clinical study protocol for COVID-19 rehabilitation with herbal medicine and cardiorespiratory exercise

Julien S Baker*, Zhaoxiang Bian, Wei Jia, Yike Guo, Yang Gao, Linda Zhong, Binh Quach, Bruce Davies, Garrett I Ash, Zhi-Xiu Lin, Yibin Feng, Benson W M Lau, Peter D Wagner, Xian Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Working paperPreprint


Background: Recent studies revealed that most discharged patients with COVID-19 suffered ongoing symptoms months later. Rehabilitation interventions can help address the consequences of COVID-19. These include medically, physically, cognitively and psychologically related problems. To our knowledge, no studies have investigated the effects of rehabilitation following discharge from hospital.

Objective: The specific aims of this project are to investigate the effects of a 12-week exercise program on pulmonary fibrosis in recovering COVID-19 patients. A further aim will be to examine how Chinese herbal medicines, gut microbiome and its metabolites regulate immune function and possibly autoimmune deficiency in the rehabilitation process.

Methods: In this triple-blinded, randomized, parallel groups, controlled clinical trial, we will recruit adult patients with COVID-19 who have been discharged from the hospital in Hong Kong and are suffering from impaired lung function and pulmonary function. A total of 172 eligible patients will be randomized into four equal groups: 1) cardiorespiratory exercise plus Chinese herbal medicines group, 2) cardiorespiratory exercise only group, 3) Chinese herbal medicines only group and 4) waiting list group (in which participants will receive Chinese herbal medicines after 24 weeks). These treatments will be administered for 12 weeks with a 12-week follow-up period. Primary outcomes include dyspnea, fatigue, lung function, pulmonary function, blood oxygen levels, immune function, blood coagulation, and related blood biochemistry. Measurements will be recorded prior to initiating the above treatments and repeated at the 13th and 25th weeks of the study. The primary analysis is aimed at comparing the outcomes between groups throughout the study period with alpha level of 0.05 (two-tailed).

Results: The trial has not been recruiting patients. The proposed study will be completed in 24 months from 01 Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2022.

Conclusions: NA Clinical Trial: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04572360; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04572360
Original languageEnglish
PublisherJMIR Publications Inc.
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 9 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameJMIR Preprints
NameJMIR Research Protocols
ISSN (Print)1929-0748

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Rehabilitation
  • Cardiorespiratory exercise
  • Chinese Medicine


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