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MBABANE – Three weeks in the country and there is progress. This follows the arrival of four specialists from Taiwan who arrived in the country to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The medical team are Intensive Care Unit Nurse Yu-Hsuan Lin, Respiratory Therapist Hsin-Yu Li, Intensive Care Physician Dr Kevin Shu-Leung Lai and Infection Disease/Control Specialist Dr Li-Yuan Chen.

According to a source close to the Ministry of Health, since the arrival of the specialists, the country has recorded a significant number of people recovering from COVID-19 because of the recommendations, implementations and experience of the specialists.
As of yesterday, there were 189 recovered cases of people who had tested positive for COVID-19. Among these include Manzini North Member of Parliament Macford Sibandze.

Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula confirmed the information, stating that since the arrival of the specialists, they had done significantly well in enhancing local health workers with their vast experience in dealing with COVID-19 recovering patients at the Lubombo Referral Hospital.
Among the things that they have done was changing the cocktails the country was using for treatment and also separated asymptomatic patients from those showing symptoms.


“The Taiwanese doctors come with vast experience and they made recommendations to the ministry, which were implemented and the difference is evident from the high number of recoveries,” Magagula asserted.  

Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi shared the same sentiments, but stated that the doctors initially came to assist the country for four weeks, which would end this coming week. He said, however, they requested, through the Taiwan Embassy, to have their stay extended for a further four weeks.
“They have been documenting their work and educating the local health practioners on treatment of the patients. We expect them to furnish us with their report which has all the details on how they have been doing, but most of it is what they were doing in their native country,” Nkosi said.

Taiwan National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine (NRICM) Director Su Yi-chang, two weeks ago, said the government-funded research institution began to develop a treatment mixing Chinese herbal therapy and Western medication at the start of the outbreak in January. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s (MoHW) Department of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, the team has developed a herbal formula based on research and its experience fighting the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003.


Su said the formula could be tailored to patients with four different degrees of disease severity: mild, moderate, severe, and remission. It can also be adjusted to better target the virus as it mutates.

“The team began to use the formula alongside the undisclosed Western medicine to treat 14 COVID-19 patients, starting April 3 at Tri-Service General Hospital in Taipei and Taichung Veterans General Hospital. The Western medication plays a supportive role while the traditional medicine-derived formula effectively targets the virus and helps maintain normal immune function,” he explained.

He said the formula was meant to prevent the virus from penetrating into the body’s cells and multiplying. In addition to quickly deactivating the virus, it can prevent the immune systems of critical patients from overreacting dangerously in what is known as the cytokine storm.

He added that after eight to 10 days of treatment, 12 of the 14 patients who had been discharged from the hospital tested negative three times. The remaining two are still recovering, having joined a therapy group several days ago, and their test results are unknown.
No side effects have been reported in the clinical trial of the new therapy so far.

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