Coronavirus: Chinese rush for herbal cure

By Our Correspondent

Chinese scientists said they have discovered a liquid made with honeysuckle and flowering plants “Shuanghuanglian”, capable of fighting the deadly coronavirus, which has sparked frenzied buying of the traditional medicine.

However, there are some elements of doubts among the people if actually the medicine can actually take care of the coronavirus.

Nevertheless, as the death toll continues to escalate, shoppers have swamped pharmacies in search of the drug.

The rush came after influential state media outlet Xinhua reported that the esteemed Chinese Academy of Sciences had found the concoction “can inhibit” the virus.

Videos shared online showed long lines of people in surgical masks lining up at night outside drug stores, purportedly in hopes of snapping up the product, despite official advice that people avoid public gatherings to prevent infection.

It quickly sold out both online and at brick-and-mortar stores, but responses to the remedy’s supposed efficacy have ranged from enthusiasm to scepticism on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform.

And state media sounded a more cautionary note on Saturday, with broadcaster CCTV publishing an interview with Zhang Boli, one of the researchers leading outbreak containment efforts, who warned of potential side effects from the medicine.

The People’s Daily newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said experts advised against taking traditional remedies without professional guidance.

But the claim comes as Beijing looks to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine, TCM into its nationwide fight against the virus, which has killed more than 300 people and infected over 14,000 in the country. On Sunday the Philippines reported the first death outside of China.

Investigators at the state-run academy, a top government think tank, are also studying the potential use of a plant commonly known as Japanese knotweed to alleviate symptoms.

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