Covid hell: New Omicron XE variant sparks panic as China resorts to HERBAL medicine

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued a warning against a new mutant “XE” variant of Omicron, which researchers warn may be more transmissible than any strain of Covid seen before. The strain was first detected in the UK in mid January, and since then more than 600 cases have been detected across the country.

This new variant is a recombinant strain, meaning it’s a mutant hybrid of the two previous versions Omicron variant, BA.1 and BA.2, which spread across the world when it first became a variant of concern.

A report released by the WHO says: “Early-day estimates indicate a community growth rate advantage of 10 percent as compared to BA.2, however, this finding requires further confirmation.”

While XE only accounts for a small fraction of the cases, its extremely high transmissibility could mean that it becomes the most dominant strain in the near future.

Meanwhile, China has decided to tackle the recent COVID-19 outbreak in a unique way- using traditional herbal medicines.

Health officials in Shanghai, one of China’s largest cities, is handing out millions of boxes of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in an effort to combat the spread of the virus.

The officials believe that the medicines, which include herbal products and flu capsules, can treat COVID-19 as the virus plunges the major city into an extended lockdown.

Yesterday, China’s commercial capital reported more than 17,000 new COVID-19 infections, including 311 symptomatic cases, among a population of more than 26 million.

Fang Min, president of the city’s Shuguang Hospital said: “Facing the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, we should use TCM treatment as soon as possible.

“For the general public, including high-risk groups, taking TCM treatment when the epidemic is severe has good preventive effect.”

Mr Fang noted that more than 21 million people had been given these medicines.

Several residents of the city have reported receiving free boxes of Lianhua Qingwen, an over the counter flu medicine in the past few weeks, according to Reuters.

Others who tested positive for the virus were given TCM medicines that had to be dissolved in hot water.

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Mr Fang added at about 98 percent of Shanghai’s infected patients are receiving this treatment, and since the latest outbreak, teams of TCM workers have fanned out to designated hospitals and quarantine sites.

Chinese health authorities have recommended the use of Lianhua Qingwen and a number of traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of Covid-19.

However, there has been a lack of reliable clinical data on their usage outside China.

In November, Singapore, which has a large ethnic Chinese population, found no scientific evidence from randomised clinical trials that support the claims that any herbal product could be used to treat COVID-19.

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