SINGAPORE: A clinical trial has been approved in Singapore to study the use of traditional Chinese medicine Lianhua Qingwen in treating adults with mild COVID-19.
The study, approved on Jan 18, was initiated by the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution, said the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) in response to CNA's queries on Tuesday (Apr 19).
"The main purpose of the study is to assess how Lian Hua Qing Wen Jiao Nang capsules, when given in addition to current standard medical treatment, may have a complementary effect on the time to COVID-19 symptom recovery in fully vaccinated adults with mild COVID-19 and who are on home recovery in Singapore," said HSA.
"A secondary purpose is to assess how it may have a further effect on the time taken to obtain a negative ART test result."
On HSA's clinical trial registry, Dr Ong Sze Tat from Ubi Family Clinic and Surgery and Dr Zuraimi Mohamed Dahlan from Banyan Clinic @ JW are listed as the study's principal investigators.
A total of 300 people, aged between 21 and 79, are expected to be involved in the trial, according to the clinicaltrials.gov website - an international database of clinical studies maintained by the United States National Library of Medicine.
The study aims to "assist policymakers in incorporating clinically proven TCM treatment for mild COVID-19 patients on home recovery" as well as establish guidelines on the use of TCM for pandemic treatment, the website stated.
It added that investigators hypothesise that TCM intervention could reduce the time of eight major COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, sore throat and body aches, as well as reduce the time to a negative ART result for mild coronavirus cases by up to 1.5 times.
The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is expected to be completed by December.
Lianhua Qingwen is available at some retail shops in Singapore.
In November last year, HSA had responded to claims on social media and in chat groups that Lianhua Qingwen could be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The agency said then that while it had approved the products for the relief of cold and flu symptoms, based on the documented uses of their ingredients, there was no scientific evidence showing that Lianhua Qingwen or other herbal products could be used to prevent or treat COVID-19.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not approved Lianhua Qingwen, stating that coronavirus-related claims about it were "not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence".
However, China approved the remedy - initially developed for SARS - as a COVID-19 treatment, and boxes of the capsules have been included in government care packages distributed in Shanghai and Hong Kong during recent outbreaks.