KARACHI: Sindh Health Ministry on Monday announced the completion of a successful clinical trial of Chinese traditional herbal medicine for treating COVID-19, as Pakistan enters a fifth wave of the pandemic driven by the Omicron variant.
The Chinese medicine, Jinhua Qinggan Granules (JHQG) manufactured by Juxiechang (Beijing) pharmaceutical Co Ltd, is already being used in treatment of COVID-19 patients in China.
It should be noted that the trial of Chinese medicine was started in collaboration with Indus Hospital Karachi, in which these trials were conducted on a total of 300 patients.
A ceremony for public announcement of completion of the trial was held at the ICCBS of the University of Karachi.
Sindh Minister for Health & Population Welfare Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuhu, Prof. Atta-ur-Rahman, Chairman of Prime Ministers Task Force on Science and Technology and ICCBS Patron-in-chief, Prof. Dr. Khalid M. Iraqi, Vice Chancellor University of Karachi, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Chaudhry, Excellency Mr. Nong Rong, Ambassador of The People’s Republic of China in Pakistan, Excellency Mr. Moin ul Haque, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in China, Prof. Dr. M. Raza Shah, Incharge of CBSCR and principal investigator of the study, Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, Director (Acting) ICCBS, Dr. Yu Wenming (Video), Commissioner, National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China, and other Chinese officials also addressed the public announcement ceremony.
Pechuhu congratulated the experts and stakeholders involved in this clinical research and said that this trial is definitely an important step in tackling the country's problems and challenges related to health and diseases.
"Since it was tried on patients with different variants of COVID-19, we expect it to be effective on Omicron as on other variants," Professor Iqbal Chaudhry, director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Science (ICCBS) where trials were conducted, told reporters.
The trials were conducted on patients who were treated at home, and would work on mild to moderate COVID-19 cases, Dr Raza Shah, principal investigator in the trials, told reporters, adding that the efficacy rate was around 82.67%.
The trials were approved by the Drug Regulatory Authority Pakistan.
Pakistan reported 4,340 COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest recorded in a 24-hour period in three months. Karachi, the country's largest city, recorded a positivity rate - the percentage of tests coming back positive - of 39.39% at the weekend, the highest so far.
"In the last seven days, COVID cases in Pakistan have increased by 170% while deaths have also increased by 62%," the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC), which is overseeing the pandemic response, said in a tweet on Monday.