Potential Targets for Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Review of Qing-Fei-Pai-Du-Tang and Its Major Herbs

Linda Li Dan Zhong*, Wai Ching Lam, Wei Yang, Kam Wa Chan, Stephen Cho Wing Sze, Jiangxia Miao, Ken Kin Lam Yung, Zhaoxiang Bian, Vivian Taam Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by WHO on March 11, 2020. No specific treatment and vaccine with documented safety and efficacy for the disease have been established. Hence it is of utmost importance to identify more therapeutics such as Chinese medicine formulae to meet the urgent need. Qing Fei Pai Du Tang (QFPDT), a Chinese medicine formula consisting of 21 herbs from five classical formulae has been reported to be efficacious on COVID-19 in 10 provinces in mainland China. QFPDT could prevent the progression from mild cases and shorten the average duration of symptoms and hospital stay. It has been recommended in the 6th and 7th versions of Clinical Practice Guideline on COVID-19 in China. The basic scientific studies, supported by network pharmacology, on the possible therapeutic targets of QFPDT and its constituent herbs including Ephedra sinica, Bupleurum chinense, Pogostemon cablin, Cinnamomum cassia, Scutellaria baicalensis were reviewed. The anti-oxidation, immuno-modulation and antiviral mechanisms through different pathways were collated. Two clusters of actions identified were cytokine storm prevention and angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor binding regulation. The multi-target mechanisms of QFPDT for treating viral infection in general and COVID-19 in particular were validated. While large scale clinical studies on QFPDT are being conducted in China, one should use real world data for exploration of integrative treatment with inclusion of pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and herb-drug interaction studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1051-1071
Number of pages21
JournalThe American Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Infectious Diseases

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bupleurum chinense
  • Cinnamomum cassia
  • Coronavirus
  • Ephedra sinica
  • Glycyrrhiza uralensis
  • Pogostemon cablin
  • Scutellaria baicalensis
  • Therapeutic Targets


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