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David Plaut: Off the Cuff

Noteworthy SARS Treatment and Prevention Reviews

Published April 24, 2014 1:51 PM by David Plaut

Two recent reviews on the prevention and treatment of SARS Severe Acute Respiratory Syndromes and RSV respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus are worth noting. One of them cautiously rejected some review articles as being biased using the Cochrane Handbook. Four other criteria were used randomized controlled trial, particular effective compound or derivative, reproducible result and animal test. The remaining reviews suggested to the authors that “Traditional Chinese herbs could directly inhibit pathogens infecting respiratory tract, or coordinate the activity of immune system to avoid or relieve infections. With the emergence of antidrug pathogens or new variants, Chinese herbs give strong evidence to protect human health.” (1)

Another meta-analysis in the Cochrane Database System Review included 18 studies with more than 2500 participants. Although many of the studies were lacking in adequate research, enough good data led the authors to state that “Most Chinese medical herbs in the included studies showed similar effects to antiviral drugs in preventing or treating influenza. Few were shown to be superior to antiviral drugs. No obvious adverse events were reported in the included studies.” However, current evidence remains weak due to methodological limitations of the trials. More high-quality RCTs with larger numbers of participants and clear reporting are needed (2).

1.            Chin Med J (Engl). 2014 Apr;127(7):1344-50.
2.            Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;3:CD004559

posted by David Plaut

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