Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, citing Iranian government officials, revealed on Tuesday a plan by four different Iranian companies to create “herbal” treatments to contain the Chinese coronavirus outbreak.
Iran is one of the world’s most devastated countries by the coronavirus outbreak, which began in central Wuhan, China, and has since become a global pandemic. Iranian officials have not yet identified the individual who brought the virus to the country or how it got there, but it began spreading out of the city of Qom, a popular Shiite Muslim pilgrimage destination. At press time, Iran claims to have confirmed a little over 8,000 coronavirus cases and 291 deaths. It also claims 2,731 people have “recovered” from the viral infection, though similarly designated people in China have suddenly died after being cleared at Wuhan hospitals.
Multiple reports from within Iran disseminated by anti-Islamic regime dissidents have questioned the veracity of the official numbers. Disparities between reports from local officials and those in Tehran resulting in impossible sums of patients have also inspired doubt around the world as to how realistic the Iranian regime’s numbers are. Protesters have challenged the regime with small rallies and displays of banners blaming Tehran for the size of the outbreak.
Multiple Iranian officials have denounced the viral outbreak as an artificially created biological attack, variously blaming “hostile forces” and “Zionists” for the outbreak. Tehran has not condemned the Chinese Communist Party for hiding the outbreak from the world for at least a month between the first cases first started surfacing in Wuhan to January 20, when Beijing announced the discovery of a novel coronavirus.
Tasnim did not offer many details on what herbs would go into the alleged remedies. The outlet quoted Mostafa Qanei, an official working under the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, who said that four companies are competing to see which can bring to development a safe herbal “treatment” for coronavirus as quickly as possible.
“He noted that two other companies are also working on two other medicines used for treatment of individuals with the coronavirus symptoms, saying the medication is expected to clean the nose and throat,” according to Tasnim. “The medicines are going to be mass produced after success in the clinical tests and certification by the Food and Drugs Organization.”
Wuhan coronavirus causes respiratory infections. According to World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Bruce Aylward, “ff you look at the symptoms, 90 percent have fever, 70 percent have dry coughs, 30 percent have malaise, trouble breathing. Runny noses were only 4 percent.”
Iranian authorities have not explained how an herbal remedy for congestion, a symptom experts say is barely seen in coronavirus patients, would help curtail the outbreak.
The call to produce an herbal treatment echoes concerning pronouncements in Chinese Communist Party media that the vast majority of coronavirus patients in the country are using “traditional Chinese medicine” to manage symptoms. As many as 80 percent of Chinese coronavirus patients in the country are receiving traditional Chinese medical cures to remain stable as the body fights the viral infection and clears the lungs. There is no one cure for coronavirus and most treatment of patients is limited to offering oxygen, fluids, and strengthening the body to eliminate the infecting matter.
“Chinese medicine has been practised for at least 3,000 years. It is the wisdom of our ancestors and it is [still] progressing,” Song Juexian, a Beijing doctor, told the South China Morning Post in February. “I believe the effects of combined use of TCM and Western medicine will become better and better.”
Beijing has a vested interest in promoting traditional Chinese medicine, as it rakes in $50 billion a year for Chinese businesses. Yet many in the West have questioned the safety of using traditional cures that do not pass through the same rigorous control standards as scientifically approved drugs.