Currently, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, formerly known as 2019-nCoV, the causative pathogen of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)) has rapidly spread across China and around the world, causing an outbreak of acute infectious pneumonia. No specific anti-virus drugs or vaccines are available for the treatment of this sudden and lethal disease. The supportive care and non-specific treatment to ameliorate the symptoms of the patient are the only options currently. At the top of these conventional therapies, greater than 85% of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients in China are receiving Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment. In this article, relevant published literatures are thoroughly reviewed and current applications of TCM in the treatment of COVID-19 patients are analyzed. Due to the homology in epidemiology, genomics, and pathogenesis of the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, and the widely use of TCM in the treatment of SARS-CoV, the clinical evidence showing the beneficial effect of TCM in the treatment of patients with SARS coronaviral infections are discussed. Current experiment studies that provide an insight into the mechanism underlying the therapeutic effect of TCM, and those studies identified novel naturally occurring compounds with anti-coronaviral activity are also introduced.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); coronavirus pneumonia.
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