International policies and challenges on the legalization of traditional medicine/herbal medicines in the fight against COVID-19
Leiden University–European Center for Chinese Medicine and Natural Compounds, Institute of Biology Leiden, Leiden University, Leiden 2333BE, The Netherlands//SU Biomedicine, the Netherlands
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has now rapidly spread around the world, causing an outbreak of acute infectious pneumonia. To develop effective and safe therapies for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 has become the major global public health concern. Traditional medicine (TM)/herbal medicines (HMs) have been used to treat multiple epidemics in human history, which brings hope for the fight against COVID-19 in some areas. For example, in China, India, and South Korea with traditional medication history and theory, the governments issued a series of guidelines to support TM/HMs in the medication of COVID-19. In contrast, other countries, e.g. North American and European governments, are typically silent on these practices, unless to warn of possible harm and overselling. Such difference is due to the discrepancy in culture, history and philosophical views of health care and medication, as well as unharmonized policies and standards in the regulation and legalization of TM/HMs among different areas. Herein, we reviewed the responses and researches from seven selected countries on the policies and legalization of TM/HMs to treat COVID-19, and also analyzed the major challenges and concerns to utilize the traditional knowledge and resource. Some new progress on Chinese medicine research will be presented as well.
About Dr. Mei Wang
Dr. Mei Wang is the founder of Leiden University – European Center for Chinese Medicine and Natural Compounds (LUECCM) and CEO of SU Biomedicine. The LUECCM is a research center for studies on Chinese herbal medicine and natural compounds located in the Sylvius Laboratory, Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL), Leiden University. She has more than 160 publications in international double refereed journals. As reviewer she has reviewed manuscripts for publication in more than 15 international journals and joins the editorial board of 3 international journals. She is associate editor of Phytomedicine. As co-promoter, she has supervised 12 PhD students who have obtained their PhD degree at Leiden University in the period from 1994 to 2017. Currently she is co-promoter of 3 PhD students at Leiden University. She is teaching a course for master students on “Pharmaceuticals from Plants” at Leiden University. She is representing the Netherlands for the Dutch pharmacopeia as expert working at the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & Health Care (EDQM) in the working party of Chinese herbal medicine. She is in the board of management of the NVF (the Dutch association of phyto-therapy) and board member of Good practice TCM Research Association (GP-TCM RA). She is the Dutch NEN, ISO TC249 voting member. In 2018, she obtained the international “Qihuang prize’ which was awarded by Chinese Medicine Society. In 2020, she obtained the 2nd prize for International Contribution Award of Traditional Chinese Medicine-Science and Technology Progress Award WFCMS.