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2021-03-31 10:06:29

China plans to build a major center dedicated to the use of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for treating and preventing epidemics, top officials said Monday during a press conference on the country’s blueprint for developing traditional therapies under the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).

The plan comes as China is heavily promoting its prized cultural heritage, which was supposedly used to successfully treat both COVID-19 and SARS. Epidemic prevention and treatment will be a main focus in the development of TCM in the coming five years, according to the press conference.

The country also plans to build 30 TCM “inheritance and innovation” centers to study and advance traditional therapies. An official estimated that the central government would double the investment for developing these centers in the coming five years.

Sun Zhicheng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission’s social development department, said the TCM epidemic prevention center will “play an important role” in building medical teams, devising treatment plans, and developing Chinese medicines.

“Through the construction of these centers, we hope to improve the rapid response and capabilities of Chinese medicine in the prevention and treatment of major public health events such as emerging infectious diseases,” Sun said.

China previously promoted TCM therapies at the national level for treating COVID-19 and SARS, including a “lung cleansing” herbal formula.

Zhang Boli, director of the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and an academician in the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told reporters this month that, compared with other patients, fewer people who were treated with TCM tested positive for the coronavirus again because “TCM treatment completely removes phlegm.”

“No phlegm, no positive test,” he said.

In 2016, China enacted a new law specifically to promote traditional Chinese medicine. And last year, Beijing drafted a regulation that would have punished people for defaming TCM, but such clauses were removed after public criticism.

Editor: Daniel Wilkinson.

(Header image: Children learn about traditional Chinese medicine in Xiangfan, Hubei province, Oct. 21, 2009. People Visual)