Coronavirus: East Vs West Treatment 


As the number of COVID-19 Coronavirus cases in the US and Europe increases daily, what can the West learn from the East about virus control? 

There has been a huge difference in how the coronavirus pandemic has evolved in different countries. Some have gone nearly two months with just a few dozen cases; others have seen an outbreak explode in weeks. 

SARS Pandemic 

The 2003 epidemic was responsible for more than 8,000 cases of SARS in 29 countries, resulting in 774 SARS-related deaths. Age was an important factor in mortality, with those aged 60 or over accounting for over half of the deaths. A percentage of patients who contracted and survived SARS ended up with long-term conditions, such as depression or anxiety, cough, shortness of breath, chronic lung disease or kidney disease. However, most patients fully recovered.  

The SARS virus shook a large percentage of the Eastern world and many countries vowed to be prepared if another pandemic were to occur. Fast forward to 2020 where over 22,000 people have now died from the COVID-19 Coronavirus – the majority of those deaths happened within Europe.   

The difference between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, is that almost all patients were symptomatic in 2003 so they were easy to identify and isolate. However, many individuals dealing with today’s COVID-19 are unknowingly asymptomatic and continue to spread the virus to others.

The East  

Many of the countries that have had the greatest success in containing COVID-19 are ones that were affected by SARS in 2002-03. Despite countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore neighbouring China, immensely strict policies have helped to reduce and slow infection rates – putting Western countries to shame. Success in the East comes from their governments speed in imposing crucial quarantine rules. Policies such as early travel restrictions, aggressive testing and crowd monitoring have managed to contain, reduce and slow infection rates, with many Eastern countries now reporting less than 10 deaths.   

The East has decided to adopt very different techniques to the US and Europe, acting fast and monitoring the state. Invasive measures such as surveillance cameras, police officers, contact-tracing teams and even Bluetooth apps have all helped to combat the number of cases. However, the higher degree of acceptance of being monitored by the state is much more evident in the East, compared to the West.  

For many Eastern countries, mask-wearing was a cultural norm, even before the Coronavirus outbreak. In East Asia, many people are used to wearing face masks when they are sickwhen it’s hayfever season or to protect themselves from population and poor air quality. The SARS outbreak also drove home the importance of wearing masks, with many residents wearing face masks daily when they venture into public places, work or use public transport. At the height of COVID-19, many residents lined up overnight outside shops to buy face masks. South Korea, Singapore and Japan have distributed face masks to residents. Taiwan and Thailand have even banned the export of masks to meet soaring local demand. Experts believe that wearing a mask is not just for protecting yourself from getting infected, but also minimising the chance of potential infection harbouring in your body from spreading to people around you – an ideology that isnt shared in the West.  

As well as stricter measures being implemented, countries such as China are also using complementary medicine in the fight against Coronavirus. 95% of Coronavirus patients in China received herbal remedies alongside antiviral drugs, with 92% of those showing faster improvement in symptoms than those who did not receive herbal medicine. Chinese herbal medicine proved effective in shortening recovery time and other complementary therapies such as TaiChi, acupuncture and massage therapy being recommended to improve mental health. China’s President, Xi Jinping, has endorsed Traditional Chinese Medicine as a reputable treatment for COVID-19 to benefit the human immune system.   

The West 

The first Coronavirus cases in Taiwan and Italy came just 10 days apart. On Sunday, the death toll in Italy was over 4,000 people. Italy’s epidemic is currently the most devastating in the world, with over 2,000 deaths in just one day. The crisis is being repeated across western counties, with Spain, France, Germany, the UK and with the US now speculated to become the new epicentre of the pandemic. Tens of millions of people from Berlin to Madrid to San Francisco are now locked down, with no clear vision of when it will all be over. But had these countries acted a few weeks earlier, perhaps they could have avoided much of the human tragedy and curbed economic catastrophe we now face.  

At this time of crisis, the West has never needed more support from the East. China has sent groups of medical experts to Italy and Western countries are turning on Chinese medicine more than ever.  

To support the fight against Coronavirus in Europe, we have developed preventative formulas with the FTCMP. The formulas contain a combination of Qi boosting and immune-supporting herbs to clear damp. The three herbal formulas suit different body constitutions for all individuals. Each formula is made from our concentrated herbal granules in our in-house ATCM/RCHM approved dispensary. Find out more here 

Although the war against COVID-19 may be hard, especially here in the West, we are here to support our industry and to protect as many patients as possible. 

If you require any more information on any of the topics mentioned, please contact   

What do you think?

2 Replies to “Coronavirus: East Vs West Treatment 

  1. “Western countries are turning on Chinese medicine more than ever.”

    If you mean ‘turning to’ Chinese medicine, I disagree, as I’ve seen no reports of the contribution Chinese herbs have made to patient recovery in China, in the Western media.

    But it is clear that Xi Jinping sees this epidemic as a political and marketing opportunity. So, practitioners in the West are expecting further significant price rises in the cost of critical herbs when they eventually become available again.

    1. Hi Kevin,

      Indeed, in western media, there have been few reports of using Chinese medicine for COVID-19. However, there have been many articles circulating on the Chinese social media platform, WeChat. Many Chinese herbalists have shared this information amongst TCM communities. However, I personally believe there is a great disconnect between eastern and western media, so it seems that the TCM industry gets very little coverage despite its success in the east. I wonder if this can be something that western TCM practitioners can help to change.

      As a supplier, we have received a greater increase in demand for our herbs than ever before. We have also heard the same from other suppliers like us.

      We’ve also received more information from university hospitals in China, so we have some more content to follow, stay tuned!

      Best wishes,


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