China suggests use of ‘bear bile’ to treat coronavirus after banning consumption of wild animals

Traditionally, the Chinese have been using Tan Re Qing to treat bronchitis and upper respiratory infections.

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After a month of China’s ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals for food, the Chinese government has recommended using Tan Re Qing to treat severe COVID-19 cases. Tan Re Qing is an injection containing bear bile.

The bile secreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder in various species of bears has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. It contains ‘ursodeoxycholic acid’, or also known as ursodiol, which has been clinically proven to help dissolve gallstones and treat liver disease.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that no cure currently exists for COVID-19, but some medicines like pain relievers and cough syrup can treat symptoms associated with the disease.

Tan Re Qing:

Traditionally, the Chinese have been using Tan Re Qing to treat bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. There is no evidence that bear bile is an effective treatment for coronavirus currently. However, the recommendation has alarmed wildlife activists.

According to Aron White, wildlife campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), the illegal wildlife animal trade will thrive after the recommendation and promote animal abuse.

“There’s a consistent preference among consumers for the wild product, which is often regarded as more powerful or ‘the real deal,’” White said while speaking to the National Geographic.

“So, having this legal market from captivity doesn’t reduce pressure on the wild populations—it actually just maintains demand that drives poaching.”

China’s wildlife-farming industry was shut down earlier this year after the outbreak of COVID-19. The industry is valued at $74 billion.

The nation’s legislation banned selling, eating and buying wild animals to prevent the diseases that spread from their consumption. Farms that breed and transport these animals have been quarantined and shut down. The ban was first expected to stay until the coronavirus epidemic ended, but it is now permanent.

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