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EXCALIBUR COPD & Chinese Herbal Medicine study (2020)

In 2020, CCMUK partners worked with the Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU) at the University of Southampton and Anhui Jiren Pharmaceutical Company to investigate the effects of the herbal formula, ShuFeng JieDu. The full title of the collaborative project was ‘Treating Acute EXacerbation of COPD with Chinese HerbAL MedIcine to aid AntiBiotic Use Reduction (EXCALIBUR): study protocol of a randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled feasibility trial‘, and it was funded by Innovate-UK and the Chinese government’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). The government-funded clinical trial was launched to investigate Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of chronic lung disease COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). COPD affects over one million patients in the UK and flare-ups are usually treated with antibiotics and steroids.

Studies have shown only 35% of exacerbations of COPD require antibiotic use. The trial aimed to work with primary care centres in the UK and affiliated hospitals in China to reduce the use of antibiotics and promote Chinese medicine as an alternative. The combination of eight traditional herbs were prescribed to patients alongside conventional treatment, to assess whether it would help COPD patients with flare-ups improve faster and reduce the need for antibiotics. Laboratory teams in both Southampton and Beijing conducted in-vitro and in-vivo preclinical testing before a feasibility study was conducted by the SCTU team on patients in Sussex. The trial involved 80 COPD patients in the UK and 300 patients in China in the hope to reduce the use of antibiotics.

CCMUK partners were lucky enough to visit the Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine in Beijing and two of the affiliated hospitals where the trial took place. The healthcare system in China is vastly different to the UK. Patients will visit the hospital for minor and major health problems, rather than visiting primary care. Depending on the individual patient’s condition, COPD patients in China are usually hospitalised and given antibiotics for around 12-16 days, then later discharged once they have completed the course of antibiotics and the symptoms have improved. The trial aimed to not only reduce antibiotic use but also minimise the pressure on hospital resources.

The role of CCMUK partners within the project was managing and overseeing the distribution, quality control and Traditional Herbal Registration from the Medicine and Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA). They were chosen for this project as they had long been recognised within the industry for their commitment to provide the highest quality of products, services and ethical standards. 

Details of the study and its findings can be found by clicking the link.