Effectiveness of Chinese Herbal Medicine in Patients with COVID-19 During the Omicron Wave in Hong Kong: A Retrospective Case-Controlled Study

Jialing Zhang, Jingyuan Luo, Hiu To Tang, Hoi Ki Wong, Yanfang Ma, Duoli Xie, Bo Peng, Aiping Lyu, Chun Hoi Cheung*, Zhaoxiang Bian*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron led to the most serious outbreak of COVID-19 in Hong Kong in 2022. Under the pressure of a high volume of patients and limited medical resources, Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has been extensively used. This is a case-control study of the infected patients that aims to evaluate the effectiveness of CHM using data extracted from the Hong Kong Baptist University Telemedicine Chinese Medicine Centre database. Patients with COVID-19 confirmed by either a rapid antigen test or a polymerase chain reaction who had completed two consultations and taken CHM within 10 days of the first positive test were included in the study (CHM group, n=311). The matched control cases were those who did not take CHM within 10 days of the first positive test and were based on age ( ± 3 years), vaccine doses ( < 3 doses, or 3 doses), and gender (no-CHM group, n=311). The outcomes included the negative conversion time (NCT, primary outcome), total score of individual symptoms, number of the reported symptoms, and individual symptom disappearance rates. The NCT of the CHM group (median days: 7.0, interquartile range: 6.0-8.0) was significantly shorter than that of the no-CHM group (8.0, 7.0-10.5; P=0.016). CHM treatment significantly reduced the total score of individual symptoms ( P<0.001) and the number of the reported symptoms ( P<0.001) as compared with that of the no-CHM group. Additionally, the symptom disappearance rates of symptoms such as chills, cough, sputum, dry throat, itching throat, headache, chest tightness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue were significantly higher in the CHM group than in the no-CHM group. In conclusion, CHM intervention can significantly reduce NCT and COVID-19 symptoms. Chinese medicine can be accurately prescribed based on a telemedical consultation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1615-1626
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • COVID-19
  • Negative Conversion Time
  • Omicron
  • Telemedicine

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