COVID-19 focus: Top 10 most-read COVID-19 stories of 2021

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

COVID-19 focus: Top 10 most-read COVID-19 stories of 2021

Related tags: COVID-19, top stories

The 10 most-read COVID-19 related stories for this year include a RCT finding on the use of TCM Lianhua Qingwen and research on various COVID-19 adjuvant therapies across the region, such as the use of honey and black cumin, and virgin coconut oil.
COVID-19: TCM Lianhua Qingwen speeds up recovery but no effect in preventing conversion to severe cases – two-week RCT

A two-week clinical trial led by renowned Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan has shown that consuming the botanical TCM product Lianhua Qingwen (LH) capsules and undergoing the standard therapy can speed up recovery in COVID-19 patients.

However, it has not proved to be effective in preventing severe infection from happening or reducing median viral assay conversion time. 

In the trial​ which took place from Feb 2 to 15 last year, nine in 10 of the subjects (91.5%) in the treatment group had completely recovered from at least one major symptom, such as coughing, fever, and fatigue by the end of the trial.

It’s official: China added three TCM formula to COVID-19 standard therapy

The Chinese government has officially recognised three TCM formulas as part of its standard therapy for COVID-19.

The three formulas​ – Lianhua Qingwen Capsule, Jinhua Qinggan Granule, and Xuebijing Injection – are patented products that are already commercially available and have been tested on​ COVID-19 patients in clinical settings.

The first two are herbal products featuring ingredients such as honeysuckle and weet wormwood.

Covid-19 RCT: Honey and black cumin seed help speed up recovery in Covid-19 patients

A randomised-controlled trial that is now published on Trials​ suggests that Covid-19 patients who received a combination of honey and Nigella sativa recovered quicker than those given a placebo.

Treatment with honey and Nigella sativa (also known as black cumin) was found​ to alleviate Covid-19 symptoms within six days, compared to 13 days in the control group.

In addition, subjects on the honey and Nigella sativa (HNS) treatment achieved a negative PCR test - used to diagnose Covid-19 - about four days earlier than subjects without the treatment.

Coconut and COVID-19: Philippines DOST-led study reveals virgin coconut oil reduce symptoms in suspected patients

A study led by the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) revealed that suspected COVID-19 patients administered with virgin coconut oil (VCO) had reduced symptoms and a faster recovery phase compared to the control group.

Conducted by the Food and Nutrition Institute (FNRI) at DOST, the findings were presented​ in a virtual briefing by DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña.

The study recruited 57 suspected COVID-19 patients in two quarantine facilities in Laguna, Santa Rosa Community Hospital Isolation Unit and Santa Rosa Community Isolation Unit.

COVID-19 and TCM: Thailand and Laos embrace China-approved Lianhua Qingwen Capsule product

Thailand and Laos have followed China’s footstep in embracing a TCM formula in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

China has added three TCM formula​, namely the Lianhua Qingwen Capsule, Jinhua Qinggan Granule, and Xuebijing Injection, as part of the country’s standard therapy for COVID-19 following positive clinical trial results.

Against the backdrop, more countries​ are starting to embrace TCM formula, with authorisation from Thailand’s and Ecuador’s health ministry and Laos adding TCM formula to their COVID-19 treatment scheme as examples.

Philippines COVID-19 trial: Virgin coconut oil effective in reducing inflammation in suspected and probable infection cases

Virgin coconut oil has been found to be effective in reducing inflammation and showed rapid symptom relief in suspected and probable COVID-19 subjects, according to an RCT​ from the Philippines.

This study was conducted by researchers at Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Ateneo de Manila University, who recruited 56 individuals from two isolation facilities in the country, Santa Rosa Community Hospital Isolation Unit and Santa Rosa Community Isolation Facility.

Participants were divided into two groups, intervention and control. The invention group was given virgin coconut oil, which saw their C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels significantly decrease after 28 days, compared to the control group.

Coconut and COVID-19: Philippines studies antiviral properties of coconut oil as potential treatment

The Philippines is studying virgin coconut oil (VCO) as a potential treatment​ for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Researchers in The Philippines are testing VCO, according to Dr Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council on Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCHRD-DOST).

The PCHRD-DOST had announced on February 7, 2020 that it would test a “functional food” in infected patients with COVID-19 which Dr. Montoya has confirmed was coconut oil.

Vitamin C and COVID-19: Philippines health authorities to supply supplements to school children

The Philippines health department in the Central Visayas region has purchased vitamin C supplements for school children​ in a bid to boost their immunity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country’s Department of Health in Central Visayas which consists of major islands, such as Cebu, made the announcement in March 2020. 

Department director, Dr Jaime Bernadas, said PHP$500k (US$9,831) would be allocated from the agency to buy the vitamin C.

Malaysia firm launches health tea modelled on COVID-19 TCM formula, but no health claims

Malaysia headquartered Ritamix Global has launched a tea modelled on a TCM formula used in China for COVID-19 treatment – but the new product has been registered as food and beverage and makes no health claims.

The Hong Kong stock exchange listed company said its product, Tang Yuan Tang​ – a decoction teabag – is developed based on the Qingfei Paidu decoction approved by China authorities as a COVID-19 treatment.

The product is available for sale in supermarkets, online channels, organic products stores, and also marketed via KOL. A box of 15 teabags is sold at RM$39.50 (US$9.75).

Singapore COVID-19 study: Vitamin B12, D and magnesium supplementation reduces severity in older patients

A cohort study in Singapore​ has found that the combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 (DMB) could reduce the rate of progression in older patients with Covid-19.

The study conducted by researchers at the Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Medical School reported that patients who received DMB had a significant reduction of clinical deterioration compared to patients without DMB. Clinical deterioration was recognised as requiring oxygen support and intensive care support.

Researchers pointed out that many of the current therapeutic efforts were targeted at viral elimination instead of pre-emptively modulating hyper-inflammation.

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