COVID-19 Evidence Alerts
from McMaster PLUSTM

Current best evidence for clinical care (more info)

Treatment Pang W, Liu Z, Li N, et al. Chinese medical drugs for coronavirus disease 2019: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Integr Med Res. 2020 Sep;9(3):100477. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2020.100477. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Background: Integration of Chinese medical drugs (CMD) and western medicine (WM) has been widely used in the treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This systematic review aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of CMD for COVID-19.

Method: A literature search was performed in six databases from injection to June 2020. Both randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs were considered as eligible. The quality of included RCTs were assessed by Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool, and Review Manager 5.3 software was used to do meta-analysis.

Result: Eleven studies with 1259 patients were included in this study. CMD included herbal decoction and Chinese patent medicine. The methodological quality was evaluated as generally unclear. The results of meta-analysis showed that the integration of CMD and WM had better efficacy than WM in number of patients turned to severe and critical type (RR?=?0.47, 95% CI=[0.32, 0.69], P?<?0.0001), length of hospital stay (MD= -7.95, 95% CI=[-14.66, -1.24], P?=?0.02), defervescence time (MD= -1.20, 95% CI=[-2.03, -0.38], P?=?0.004), cough resolution rate (RR?=?1.37, 95% CI=[1.15, 1.64], P?=?0.0004), fatigue resolution rate (RR?=?1.37, 95% CI=[1.02, 1.83], P?=?0.04), and tachypnea resolution rate (RR?=?2.20, 95% CI=[1.11, 4.39], P?=?0.02). As for safety, there was no significant difference between two groups.

Conclusion: CMD may bring potential benefit to patients suffered from COVID-19. However, the quality of included trials is not good enough. High quality study with core outcome set are still required.

Discipline / Specialty Area Score
Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists
Internal Medicine
Family Medicine (FM)/General Practice (GP)
General Internal Medicine-Primary Care(US)
Intensivist/Critical Care
Comments from MORE raters

Hospital Doctor/Hospitalists rater

As an Internist, I found these information useful for my every day clinical practice.

Internal Medicine rater


Respirology/Pulmonology rater

This is not practice changing; the quality of reviewed evidence is poor.

Respirology/Pulmonology rater

The “medicine” in this article is not available in the most parts of the world and their mechanism, safety are unknown. Patient numbers were small. The medicine used in each study was different. I don’t think they are comparable. I doubt this study could be useful for anyone.