TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — At an international forum on traditional medicine, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in Taipei on Sunday (March 14) touted a Taiwan-developed herbal treatment for COVID-19 that has been flying off the shelves overseas.
NRICM101, an herbal compound developed by the National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine (NRICM) in 2020, is believed to reduce the chance of severe illness as a result of COVID-19. It has been proven effective at inhibiting coronavirus replication and preventing the cytokine storm, in which the body attacks its own cells.
The medicine has become available as a dietary supplement in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Europe under the names of RespireAid and COVRelief, manufactured by Taiwanese pharmaceuticals Sun Ten and Chuang Song Zong, respectively. People in Taiwan, however, do not yet have access to the medicine due to strict certification rules and the lack of clinical data, reported UDN.
In her address on Sunday, Tsai noted that NRICM101 has been well-received in Western countries as people seek to ward off the novel virus, a testimony to Taiwan’s prowess in traditional Chinese medicine. The government has drafted a five-year program to further develop the herbal treatment, including applying it in precision medicine in line with the Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy Development Act and training talent.
Taiwan will also work to adopt international standards and review the Taiwan Herbal Pharmacopeia. These efforts will be conducive to exporting the country's alternative medicine expertise and exploring related business opportunities globally, Tsai reckoned.