KU starts clinical trials of traditional Chinese medicine for coronavirus

The Dr Panjwani Center at the Karachi University has begun “revolutionary” clinical trials of traditional Chinese medicine Jinhua Qinggan Granules for the treatment of mild coronavirus patients.

“This is a
revolutionary step in the country’s health care system,” says Professor Dr M Iqbal
Choudhary, the director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological
Sciences at KU.

The trials started at the Center for Bioequivalence Studies and Clinical Research, a part of the Dr Panjwani Center, in collaboration with Indus Hospital.

“This
traditional medicine is the combination of natural herbs and widely used during
the pandemic of COVID-19 in China,” explained Professor Dr Raza Shah, CBSCR chief
and main author of the study.

The Jinhua Qinggan Granule was developed during the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, says ChinaDaily.com. It contains 12 herbal components including jinyinhua (honeysuckle), Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), Niu Bang Zi (great Burdock fruit), fritillaria, sweet wormwood herb, mint, and licorice. These herbs are helpful in clearing the airways and lungs.

The medicine can also improve the rate of recovery of the cells that drive the immune response: lymphocytes and white blood cells. The news outlet adds that the granule has shown to reduce the number of patients developing severe illness.

On September 21, the World Health Organisation endorsed a protocol for testing African herbal medicines as potential treatments for the coronavirus and other epidemics.

At the Karachi University, the effectiveness and safety of the Jinhua Qinggan Granules will be evaluated on 300 mild COVID-19 patients, both male and female, for five to 10 days. The National Bioethics Committee and DRAP have approved the trial, said Dr Choudhary.

The traditional medicine’s efficacy and safety have been evaluated by pharmacologists, toxicologists, phase II and III clinical studies, and the drug approved for over-the-counter treatment of COVID-19 patients, said Dr Shah.

DRAP has also granted CBSCR a license to act as a contract research organisation for national and international trials, Prof. Choudhary said.

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