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The Chinese government has proposed using Tan Re Qing, an injection containing bear bile, to treat serious and critical COVID-19 cases less than a month after taking action to effectively ban the trade and use of live wild animals for food. It is one of many recommended treatments for coronavirus— both traditional and western— on a list released by the Chinese National Health Commit on March 

The bile from various types of animals, including Asian black bears and brown bears, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine since at least the eighth century, secreted by the liver and preserved in the gallbladder. It contains high ursodeoxycholic acid levels, also known as ursodiol, which has been scientifically proven to help remove gallstones and treat hepatic disease.

The World Health Organization says there is no treatment for COVID-19, but certain medications, such as pain relievers and cough syrup, can treat the disease-. (Read what scientists say about coronavirus care and don't say) Modern practitioners of Chinese medicine usually use Tan Re Qing to treat bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. The therapeutic effects of ursodeoxycholic acid were studied by Clifford Steer, a professor at Minnesota University in Minneapolis. He knows that bear bile is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus with no evidence. Yet ursodeoxycholic acid, he states, is isolated from. China wildlife conservation legislation, passed in 1989, sees wild animals as a tool to be used to support humans. In 2016, it was revised to further legitimize the commercial use of wildlife, specifically stating that animals can be used for traditional Chinese medicine, the China policy expert at the time written by Humane Society International, Peter Li.

While the use of bear bile from captive animals in China is legal, bile from wild bears is prohibited, as is the importation of bear bile from other countries. According to Aron White, wildlife campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a non-profit organization based in London, England, which investigates wildlife crimes, his organization first heard about the recommendations of the Chinese government to handle CO "Consumers have a clear preference for the wild commodity which is sometimes considered more strong or' the real deal,'" says White. "Therefore, making this captive legal market will not reduce the burden on the wild populations— it simply just retains the demand that drives poaching."

The animals may be housed for decades in small cages at bear bile farms in China and in Southeast Asia. Bile is regularly collected from the gallbladder by inserting a catheter, syringe, or tubing. According to Animals Asia, a non-committed to ending bile farming, all methods for extracting bile are intrusive and "cause extreme distress, discomfort, and infection." Negligence and disease are prevalent in these farms and consumers are at risk of ingesting bile from sick bears which, according to Animals Asia, may be contaminated with blood, faeces, pus, urine, and bacteria. A pill named Angong Niuhuang Wan is another traditional medicine on the approved list of the National Health Commission that could be in demand for use against COVID-19.

The cure, which is used to treat fever and various diseases, traditionally includes rhino horn, which is strictly forbidden from foreign trade. Under Chinese rule, buffalo horn must be included in the pills, White says, but some traders continue to pill rhino horn containing drugs.

Promotion of Tan Re Qing injections and other wildlife-based therapies at a time when Beijing appears bent on closing off the country's trade in live wild animals "really speaks to the mixed signals currently coming out of China," White says.

Yet in China, the use of traditional medicine, much of which is plant-based, spans thousands of years and was the predominant method of health care until the early 1900s, when a Western-trained doctor ousted the last emperor of the Qing dynasty. The Government also endorses traditional remedies as a cornerstone of Chinese culture, and in 2018 the World Health Organization published conventional medicine

Dangers for public wellbeing: Human health risks All wildlife farms face health hazards, regardless of whether the animals are bred for meat or conventional medicine, says White. For example, hundreds of wild animals often live crowded together in both situations, and people often communicate with carcasses.

"If [wildlife] is used as a meat or as medicine, there are still risks of how the animals are hunted, captured, handled, processed, and eaten," White says. If China shuts farms that grow meat from wild animals such as peacocks, porcupines and boars because they present a risk of disease, White says, "Why don't they look at farms either— you know, bear farms, tiger farms. They have many of the same problems. "Moreover, he states," the vast majority of traditional Chinese medicine includes no sections of wildlife. This doesn't have to be a wildlife threat.

'As far as COVID-19 is concerned, what we need is straightforward, says Clifford Steer of the University of Minnesota. "At the end of the day," he says, "the world clearly needs to create a vaccine against this to protect people.

We don't need cleaners in hospitals. Many experts say the virus can be destroyed by daily household cleaning supplies (that often contain the same ingredients as hospital cleaners).

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