A traditional Chinese medicine formula NRICM101 to target COVID-19 through multiple pathways: A bedside-to-bench study

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2020.111037Get rights and content

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A herb-based formula delivers positive clinical outcomes on COVID-19 patients.

The formula inhibits SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in anti-viral & -inflammatory assays.

Real-world-evidence offers insights to inform drug development.

Bed-to-bench approach shortens the time required for finding effective therapeutics.


COVID-19 is a global pandemic, with over 50 million confirmed cases and 1.2 million deaths as of November 11, 2020. No therapies or vaccines so far are recommended to treat or prevent the new coronavirus. A novel traditional Chinese medicine formula, Taiwan Chingguan Yihau (NRICM101), has been administered to patients with COVID-19 in Taiwan since April 2020. Its clinical outcomes and pharmacology have been evaluated. Among 33 patients with confirmed COVID-19 admitted in two medical centers, those (n = 12) who were older, sicker, with more co-existing conditions and showing no improvement after 21 days of hospitalization were given NRICM101. They achieved 3 consecutive negative results within a median of 9 days and reported no adverse events. Pharmacological assays demonstrated the effects of the formula in inhibiting the spike protein/ACE2 interaction, 3CL protease activity, viral plaque formation, and production of cytokines interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. This bedside-to-bench study suggests that NRICM101 may disrupt disease progression through its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, offering promise as a multi-target agent for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

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Graphical abstract



Traditional Chinese medicine


Spike protein

3CL protease

Cytokine storm

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© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.

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