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China is experimenting with its centuries-old traditional medicine on patients affected by the coronavirus, a top health official was quoted as saying in reports.

Treatment in Wuhan hospitals combine Traditional Chinese Medicine, popularly known as TCM, and western medicines.

Health official Wang Hesheng said TCM was applied on more than half of confirmed cases in Hubei.

No drugs or preventives have yet been approved against the virus, which has already claimed the lives of 1,665 people and affected almost 70,000.

Just weeks into the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, reports of treatments and vaccines against those infected have caused much speculation.

Some 2,200 TCM workers have been sent to Hubei, Wang said.

Wang is one of the officials at the forefront of an effort by Beijing to reset its approach to the epidemic, after anger grew across China at a lack of transparency throughout the crisis that has shut down large swathes of the economy.

Earlier this week, China sacked the top leadership in the embattled province, including Wang’s predecessor.

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