"It's the same as wild animals that are exposed to viruses." Recently, Dr. Sun Quanhui, a scientist of the world animal protection association and a doctor of zoology, pointed out at the launching ceremony of the Chinese herbal medicine database which can replace wild animal medicines.
The online Chinese herbal medicine database, which can replace wild animal medicines, includes 15 common ingredients of wild animal medicines, provides 189 corresponding Chinese herbal medicine alternatives, covering more than 270 kinds of herbs and minerals. It is mainly for medical professionals with medical background, Chinese herbal medicine researchers and consumers to provide reference and guidance.
In recent years, many experts are also calling for scientific search for artificial substitutes, which can not only solve the problem of wildlife resources protection, but also make traditional Chinese medicine not be greatly affected. Mei Zhisheng, an expert from the Chinese Academy of traditional Chinese medicine, suggested that the state should list wild Chinese medicine resources as strategic resources, and set up the national wild Chinese Medicine Resources Administration for unified management.
"The efficacy of wild animals has actually been exaggerated. There is no disease that is not a wild animal medicine." Sun Quanhui told the 21st century economic reporter that the fundamental reason for the industrialization of wildlife medicine is the demand of traditional medicine market.
According to reports, there are three kinds of Chinese medicinal materials, including animals, plants and minerals. Plants account for the largest proportion, accounting for about 80%, while animals only account for about 20%. This means that most of the medicinal value of wild animals can be replaced by Chinese herbal medicines. However, since ancient times, there has been a cognitive bias towards wild animal medicinal materials, which leads to a fascination: the rarer the animal, the higher the medicinal value. Even after the emergence of the industrial chain of wildlife breeding, this cognitive bias still exists.
Sun Quanhui pointed out that there are two main ways to use wild animals as medicine, one is to capture wild animals in the wild, and the other is to cultivate them artificially. For example, most of the bear gall used as medicine is from artificially bred Asian black bears.
The high demand for wild animals in the traditional medicine market stimulates the illegal capture of wild animals and the production of artificial breeding industry, which in turn continues to boost the market demand. However, there are numerous underestimated risks in this cycle.
A large number of studies have shown that animals can not only feel pain and pain, but also experience a lot of positive emotions. Captivity will cause great damage to the health of animals, which may cause malnutrition or obesity, and even lead to physiological defects due to rapid reproduction and inbreeding. In terms of animal psychology, the narrow and monotonous living space may give animals It will bring great mental pressure and psychological problems, and even self mutilation behavior. Wild animal breeding is likely to lead to serious animal abuse.
In addition, both wild animals hunted in the wild or wild animals in captivity will increase the chance of human contact with the virus, thus increasing the probability of virus cross species transmission.
The wild animals obtained by illegal hunting enter the market without quarantine inspection. They may carry a large number of viruses that cause human infection. The patients have low immunity. If they use this kind of medicinal materials for treatment, they may have the risk of deterioration. The breeding of wild animals increases the exposure opportunities of human in front of the virus, not only the breeding personnel are faced with the risk of virus infection, but also easy to cause cross infection between people.
Excessive pursuit of wild animal medicinal materials may lead to the rise of illegal hunting behavior, which will not only cause problems in wildlife protection and management, but also cause the shortage of wildlife resources.
For example, pangolin, a national key protected animal, was upgraded from the second class national protected animal to the first grade in June this year. Previously, pangolin, which had been regarded as a precious Chinese herbal medicine, was hunted and killed in large numbers.
The wild rhinoceros horn, which is considered as "calming the mind, relieving heat and dispersing wind poison" in traditional Chinese medicine, has led to the extinction of wild rhinoceros in China due to human hunting in 1922.
Promote research and development of substitutes
The fact is, because of the high demand of traditional Chinese medicine market for wild animal medicine has led to the extinction of some wild animal species, some experts and scholars call for stopping the harm to wild animals and promoting the use of herbal medicine substitutes and the research and development of synthetic substitutes.
In 2019, a questionnaire survey conducted by the world animal protection association, Dr. Chunyu and CCTV showed that 80% of doctors believed that wild animals would kill wild animals and should be prohibited; 83.1% of Chinese medicine would choose safer, more effective or more stable herbal and artificial substitutes.
In 2020, the world animal protection association and Oxford University Research on pangolin and other aspects showed that 89% of ordinary consumers would like to use herbal substitutes.
The opinions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on promoting the inheritance, innovation and development of traditional Chinese medicine for the first time explicitly proposed to strengthen the protection of rare and endangered wild medicinal animals and plants, and support the research, development and utilization of substitutes for rare and endangered Chinese medicinal materials. In addition, the 2020 edition of the Pharmacopoeia of the people's Republic of China also removed pangolin from the Pharmacopoeia, and proposed to establish a withdrawal system of drug quality standards, so that the varieties of Chinese medicinal materials listed in Appendix I of the Convention on international trade in species of wild animals and plants will not be added or included in the Pharmacopoeia. In August 2020, tonic drugs, health care drugs and drugs containing precious and endangered wild animals and plants will also be eliminated in the work plan of national medical insurance drug catalogue adjustment. At the national level, we should vigorously promote the research, development and utilization of substitutes for endangered wild medicinal animals.
It is understood that some wild animal medicinal materials have been replaced by artificial products. For example, the efficacy of artificial musk can reach 85% of that of natural musk, which can effectively protect male musk deer after being put into use. In addition, the research of artificial bezoar and bear bile powder has also achieved good results.
However, Mei Zhisheng, an expert from the Chinese Academy of traditional Chinese medicine, suggested that the state should list wild Chinese medicine resources as strategic resources and set up a national administration of wild Chinese medicine resources for unified management. In addition to meeting domestic clinical and scientific research needs in a planned way, we should strictly control the direct commercial use of wild Chinese medicine resources, encourage the priority use of artificially cultivated biological species resources, and prohibit the export of wild Chinese medicine resources At the same time, it is strictly prohibited for any unit or individual to collect or transfer wild Chinese medicine resources and related genetic resources without permission.
Sun Quanhui also said that at present, there is still room for improvement in the database of Chinese herbal medicines that can replace wild animal medicines. The protection of wild animals also needs to be united by all sectors of the society to improve the public's awareness of the risks of wild animals as medicine, reduce the demand for wild animal medicines in the Chinese medicine market, and constantly promote the research and development of substitutes for wild animal medicinal materials, so as to realize the endangered situation Effective protection of wild animals.