(CN/EN)Q&A from the International Lectures of COVID-19 by Dr Liu Baoyan, Zou Xu, Gong Yabin

author:WFAS source:WFAS Click:1404 update:2020-05-11



Q1: In the treatment of COVID-19, how often should acupuncture treatment been applied (every day, or every other day?); How long does a course last? Is it possible to combine acupuncture with cupping and scraping(guasha)?

——French Faculty free Traditional Chinese Medicine


Prof. Yabin Gong: We gave patient acupuncture treatment in the ward once a day for 12 days. Cupping is not suitable for negative pressure wards, so cupping treatment is not recommended. More than 80% of the patients admitted to our wards are patients with deficiencies. They are in weak constitution, so we do not recommend scraping treatment either.



Q2: We have learned that the symptoms of loss of taste and smell mainly occur in Europeans. Only 10% to 15% of Asians have these symptoms, while about 90% of Europeans suffer from them. What do you think? Can acupuncture help? 

——French Faculty free Traditional Chinese Medicine



Prof. Baoyan Liu: People show up symptoms of loss of smell or taste after the virus infection, which is also a common phenomenon.For these symptoms, I think it may be very effective to use acupuncture and moxibustion. In 2016, an article named “Therapeutic effect of acupuncture and acupoint injection on the condition of postvirus-infecting olfactory dysfunction” was published in the Chinese Journal of Otorhinolaryngology in Integrative Medicine.In the article, 90 virus--infected patients with the olfactory dysfunction were randomly divided into three groups, namely acupuncture group, acupoint injection group and blank control group, patients were given acupuncture on bilateral Yingxiang, Shangyingxiang and Biqiu points, lidocaine injection in Yingxiang point, and simple clinical observation respectively. Compared before and after treatment , the results showed that both the acupuncture group and the acupoint injection group could improve the olfactory function of PVOD patients, and they all had significant effects. I think these patients can try acupuncture therapy for the symptoms of loss of taste and smell, which should be of great help. Taste dysfunction and olfactory dysfunction may also be central, basically caused by virus infection from the periphery. Then for the facial paralysis patients with the taste dysfunction, the acupuncture treatment we use has good effect. And these diseases somehow are related to the virus infection.

The reason why loss of taste and smell are more common in Europeans than Asians is still worthy of our further research. But I think that the use of acupuncture therapy can refer to relevant research and reports, it is worth our learning and practice.



Q3: COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. How can we practice and self-protect while some acupuncturists don’t have strong concept of sterility? 

——Spanish Branch of the Space-Time Acupuncture College


Prof. Xu Zou: Now we are in contact with infectious patients. We need to be more careful than usual. We should wear protective clothing and gloves. We must move slowly when we insert the needle. Therefore, during the acupuncture treatment: firstly, we should not choose too many acupuncture points, otherwise it will take more time; secondly, some patients may have bleeding or secretions when the needle is inserted. The hands must be strictly disinfected before needling. Rinse with water, even change gloves when secretion shows up. We should change gloves and disinfect hands right after each time of needling one point to prevent cross infection; finally, we should be slower than usual needle insertion to prevent occupational exposure, because there may be bleeding or secretions leaking. During the acupuncture treatment, protection is very important.



Q4: Is it recommended that acupuncturist use a tube for needle insertion to avoid direct contact with the patient's skin?

——Spanish Branch of the Space-Time Acupuncture College 


Prof. Yabin Gong: If possible, use tube as much as possible, and it is better to have a separate set of guiding tube for each patient, and each needle should come with individual guiding tube. If not, try to ensure that patient get separate guiding tube to avoid cross-infection. The doctor (or nurse) must strictly disinfected their hands right after treatment.



Q5: During the acupuncture treatment, doctors are in closer contact with patients than others. Does it increase the possibility of infection? 

——China-Swiss Chinese Medicine Center in Switzerland


Prof. Gong Yabin: All needling will definitely touch the patient. So the risk will be greater when contacting the patient, especially those with cough or sputum symptoms. But we, especially the doctors at Lei Shen Shan Hospital, must wear protective clothing and protective glasses. Before entering the ward, there are specially controlled personnel to check our protective equipment in addition to our own inspection (protection) to make sure our skin is not exposed at all. In short, the doctor will always bring 2-3 layers of gloves, goggles, and a layer of face shield, so acupuncture treatment is safe under the premise of strict protection.



Q6: Are there any cases where acupuncture is used alone without medication? 

——China-Swiss Chinese Medicine Center in Switzerland


Prof. Xu Zou: At present, the treatment of patients with COVID-19 has to be quick, we should not leave it (the condition) a chance to change (aggravate). As of now, we have not simply treated them with acupuncture and no drugs. From an ethical point of view, if one is treated with acupuncture alone and the patient’s condition has changed (deteriorated), it is not ethically acceptable from the perspective of our doctors and nurses. So we have not used acupuncture alone to treat patients with COVID-19.



Q7: Is there any research on comparing acupuncture and medication? 

——China-Swiss Chinese Medicine Center in Switzerland


Prof. Xu Zou: Because we need to be highly responsible to the patients to do research on this kind of severe infectious diseases, there is no such research on acupuncture and medication comparison at present. If we want to do this acupuncture-medication comparison, we need to go through ethical review procedure and acquire more practical cases, so we have not made a comparative research on acupuncture or medication treatment alone at present.


——来自美国的医师 海英

Q8: In view of the current shortage of ventilators in various states of the US, if acupuncture can indeed continuously improve respiratory function of patients, it is a very good for the entire supportive treatment. Could you please talk about the clinical application of acupuncture in Wuhan frontline? And the choice of acupuncture treatment for patients with mild, moderate and severe disease?  

——Haiying, a physician from the United States


Prof. Xu Zou: Regarding this problem, if there is a shortage of ventilators, use acupuncture and moxibustion specially to improve respiratory function. According to our experience in treating COVID-19 in the past two months, it is suggested that comprehensive treatment is still needed to achieve the best results. For example: in the early stage when the disease is in the exterior, TCM treatment such as acupuncture should be used as soon as possible to relieve exterior syndrome and sweat. If there is no ventilator, about 10% of the patients will develop from severe to critical, and even about 3% of the patients will die, so at this time we still need a ventilator in case. Comprehensive therapy should be used for treatment. At present, we use symptomatic treatments of Western medicine, especially oxygen supply through nasal tube, mask, or even non-invasive ventilator, plus Chinese medicine (to improve respiratory function) and acupuncture, the curative effect is better. Therefore, I agree to intervene in this virus early, even for mild patients, it is effective using comprehensive therapy with acupuncture and medications. In short, in the treatment of COVID-19, comprehensive therapy is very important. In addition, acupuncture stimulates the meridian Qi of the human body to prevent the transmission. I think the experience of combining acupuncture with medicine and symptomatic treatment is worth promoting.