Anthony DiSalvo, LAc
New Evidence of Coronavirus Mutations - How Chinese Herbal Medicine May Hold a Solution
Updated: Jun 18, 2020
In a recent CNN article an explanation of new data about covid-19 spike mutations.
"Choe and colleagues ran a series of experiments in lab dishes that show a mutation called D614G gives the virus many more spikes, and makes those spikes more stable. That in turn make it easier for it to get into cells.."
Researchers explained that the mutation in D614G increased the infection rate of the virus, but not its lethal nature. They speculate that sometime in January the virus mutation occurred and began spreading more quickly throughout Europe and the Americas.
Further monitoring of the virus must continue and further scientific studies will be conducted and peer reviewed as time goes on. Unlike most RNA viruses that don't mutate, this RNA based virus is different.
"This virus is going to respond to whatever we do to control it. We make a drug, it is going to resist it. We make a vaccine, it is going to try to get around it. We stay at home, it is going to figure out how to hang around longer," he said.
How Can Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Help Against a Mutating Virus?
The unique approach to treating viruses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with herbal medicine has been around for over 3,000 years. When you sit and think about it, that sure is a long time for many different types of viruses to adapt to the hundreds of herbal plants in TCM's pharmacopeia and develop resistance to them. Chinese herbs do not reveal in scientific studies the ability of a virus or bacteria to develop resistance to them. Instead numerous scientific studies show how Chinese herbal medicine is effective in treating an array of bacterial or viral infections that have developed resistance to pharmaceutical drugs.
Synergy in Plant Medicines
One of the reasons that Chinese herbal medicine is effective against resistant bacteria or viruses rests with the synergistic activity in the combination of herbs used in a formula.
When a patient is treated for a viral infection, the Chinese herbs are not designed to attack that specific virus markers. Instead the herbs behave in the body with functions such as clearing heat, leaching out congested fluids from the cellular space in the lungs, dispelling blood stasis, facilitate apoptosis (cell death) due to natural mediating factors of the body's immune system response, or activate vasodilation in the arteries of the heart.
As the covid-19 virus mutates and symptoms change in the body, Chinese herbal medicine will adapt along with it. As new symptoms appear in different individuals the Chinese herbal formulas will be composed of herbs that address those particular and unique symptoms presenting in the patient. As symptoms change over the course of treatment with a patient so do the ingredients in the formula. Formulas are given in short term periods to allow for these modifications, typically in 3-5 day increments.
Post infection recover is also crucial for a patient. Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed for this phase of patient care. Symptoms vary patient to patient, whether there is Post ICU syndrome (a combo of physical and mental issues), COPD symptoms requiring in-home oxygen support, blood clotting issues or anything else that presents in the patient. The formulas are given to assist in the recovery process to help avoid further health complications down the road. TCM physicians follow the syndrome from start to finish.
Why can't we extract the components of a Chinese herb that make it so effective?
As stated in the research article, (sec 3.1) a Chinese herb's "active single compound is often unidentifiable and its isolation or extraction is also difficult." It can also lead to undesirable side-effects like that of a chemical drug.
Herbal formulas efficacies depend on the synergistic activity between the herbs, as well as the inhibitory or antagonistic activities for example. Hydrolization (boiling in water) also plays an important factor in activating certain herb on herb effects.
The synergistic effects of herbal formulas and how they are modified to the personal differential diagnosis of a patient gives the formula an advantage in helping the body fight off an illness. How can a virus or bacteria adapt to a treatment method that is never the same? TCM is the original form of "functional medicine."
Below are some example studies regarding CHM effect on drug resistant bacterias and viruses.
Eradication of Helicobacter pyloriWith a Chinese Herbal Medicine Without Emergence of Resistant Colonies
Immunomodulatory Effects of a Traditional Chinese Medicine with Potential Antiviral Activity: A Self-Control Study
Antibacterial Properties of Chinese Herbal Medicines against Nosocomial Antibiotic Resistant Strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Taiwan
Advance of the Inhibition Effects of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Drug-Resistance Escherichia coli
Chinese Herbal Medicine Wenxia Changfu Formula Reverses Cell Adhesion-Mediated Drug Resistance via the Integrin β1-PI3K-AKT Pathway in Lung Cancer
We in TCM will continue to support the public health of our communities because we know our treatments are effective.
Understanding of guidance for acupuncture and moxibustion interventions on COVID-19 (Second edition) issued by CAAM
"In the regions where TCM therapeutic methods were highly utilized, the curative rate was increased, the number of severe case decreased and the hospital discharge rate improved remarkably"
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to negatively effect our livelihoods, we are here to help and support the well being of the public in a collaborative effort with the Western medical community. We know that further scientific studies need to be conducted to show the quantitative effects of Chinese herbal medicine in fighting the virus, or at least showing the qualitative effects on the human body for recovery. These studies are being conducted and we will await their publications and peer reviews. Example study in progress regarding herbal medicines therapeutic effects on covid-19 patients.