Chinese herbal soup may be effective treatment for SARS
Tues Nov 11 2003 21:45:32 ET

Hong Kong (dpa) - Doctors believe Chinese herbal soup may be as effective in treating SARS as western anti-viral
medicines, a news report said Wednesday.

Patients on mainland China were served with ``qing fei jiy du tang'' - which translates as soup for clearing the
lungs - and showed better recovery rates than people in Hong Kong.

The SARS mortality rate in mainland China was 7 per cent, 10 per cent less than in Hong Kong where patients were
treated with the drugs ribavirin and interferon.

University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung, quoted in the South China Morning Post, said the soup had
been analysed and found to contain the chemical compound baicalin which is active against the SARS virus.

He said that although results were preliminary, the soup could offer a cheap alternative treatment in places
where western drugs could not be afforded.

A total of 1,755 people were infected with SARS in Hong Kong between March and June, 299 of whom died.

Hong Kong used aggressive drug treatments to try to cure patients, including steroids, and some experts believe
the medicines used may have pushed up the mortality rate.

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