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Support for South Africa's Fight Against COVID-19

  A video conference with traditional medical experts from China and South Africa was convened on April, 29. They exchanged their views on utilization experience and significant efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in prevention and treatment of COVID-19 under the coordination of Department of Science and Technology of Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa. The conference was held by Shen Long, Counselor of Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa. Prof. Xu Anlong, President of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Mr Daan du Toit, Deputy Director of South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). Ms Lebogang Lebese, Director of International Cooperation Department and Mr Ramphelane Morewane, Director of Basic Medical Department both from National Department of Health in South Africa, Dr Wadgeda Cassiem, Consultant of the South African Health Products Administration, Dr Laila Parker, Chairman of the South African Chinese Medicine Professional Committee and more than 30 participants from the related bureau of the South African National Department of Health, Free State University and Department of Chinese Medicine in Western Cape University participated in this conference.

  Counselor Shen Long mentioned in his speech that confirmed cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 3 million worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 200,000. The current anti-epidemic situation still remains severe. The pandemic can only be defeated and our common home safeguarded by standing for the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and working together to cope with the challenge. According to China's experience of combating COVID-19, it has been proved that TCM has a positive effect on fighting against COVID-19. The clinical observation indicated that the confirmed COVID-19 cases that used TCM treatment saw effective rate of over 90%. Early intervention of TCM for treatment in patients with mild symptoms or during recovery period, and the combined therapy of TCM and Western medicine for severe and critically ill cases effectively slow the progression of the disease. The aim of this video conference session is to share China’s experience of TCM in the fight against COVID-19 and help South Africa contain the spread of epidemic as soon as possible.

  Deputy Director Mr Daan du Toit said that since the outbreak of COVID-19 in South Africa, Chinese government has provided generous assistance to South Africa, which helps South Africa significantly ramp up its COVID-19 response and control capacity. South Africa’s Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and National Department of Health cherish the profound friendship and close cooperation with China. At present, cooperation in science and technology between China and South Africa is close. The Ministry of Science and Technology of two countries is focusing on the implementation of cooperation between China and South Africa, such as joint research projects and centers, exchanges of young scientists, etc. Both parties share extensive common interests in R&D and industrial applications of TCM and South African indigenous knowledge system (IKS). South African Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) is willing to work together with China to incorporate the cooperation between TCM and IKS into the framework of China-South Africa cooperation in SciTech, strengthen anti-epidemic scientific research cooperation, and produce more scientific and technological achievements that benefit both countries and for all mankind.

  Ms Lebogang Lebese and Mr Ramphelane Morewane, Directors of South African National Department of Health hail Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of South Africa in convening this conference session. At present, South Africa is facing huge challenges with nearly 5,000 confirmed cases and 100 deaths. The situation of epidemic containment is becoming increasingly severe. China has extensive expertise in the areas of "classified treatment" and antiviral treatment. South Africa is willing to strengthen cooperation with China in R&D and application of anti-epidemic drugs, keen to learn TCM anti-epidemic experience in order to respond more effectively to the epidemic.

  Prof. Xu Anlong, President of Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) said that TCM therapy plays an important role in the fight against COVID-19 in Wuhan and the combination of TCM and Western medicine treatment has also proven to be effective. BUCM has distinguished advantages in the fields of TCM education, scientific research, clinical medicine and international cooperation. It has a long history of cooperation and frequent cultural exchanges with South Africa. BUCM has signed cooperation agreements with South African Medical Research Council, Free State University and other scientific research institutions and sent multiple batches of scientific research personnel to carry out mutual visits and exchanges. BUCM is willing to take this opportunity to promote pragmatic cooperation and joint anti-epidemic.

  Prof. Wang Tong, an expert from BUCM to Wuhan, systematically introduced her team's experience and the significant efficacy of TCM in the title of "Introduction of TCM Experience in Treating COVID-19". TCM witnessed effective results in the treatment of mild, moderately especially critically ill patients in Wuhan. Prof. Wang emphasized that TCM highlighted individualized treatment, with one prescription for one patient, as well as treatment based on syndrome differentiation. The treatment should care both the lung and spleen, the lung and intestine and dietary nutrition. Medical and nursing professionals from BUCM introduced the current applications and positive effects of TCM nursing methods in the process of anti-epidemic disease in Wuhan. Later, Chinese experts patiently answered questions raised by experts from South Africa.

  The conference was highly appraised and acknowledged by participants from both sides. Counselor Shen Long and Deputy Director Mr Daan du Toit expressed their willingness to support two countries in carrying out anti-epidemic scientific research cooperation with TCM and South Africa's herbal medicine, and urged the two parties to start preparing research plans, and with consideration to establish China-South Africa TCM Joint Research Center. President Xu Anlong from BUCM expressed his willingness to provide effective anti-epidemic formula and other experiences to support South Africa for the cooperation of TCM scientific research. Officials and experts from South Africa are keen to learn the experience of TCM treatment and hope to improve international cooperation with Chinese side in TCM scientific research as soon as possible and to accelerate the integration of TCM and South African traditional knowledge system.