Fighting against the flu and protecting people’s health


 In the spring of 1957, a serious flu broke out in places like Beijing, Shanghai, Guizhou, Luoyang and Zhangjiakou, and it shocked th world with such a huge damage. Statistics showed that in Beijing two million people (including some patients with anemofrigid cold), accounting for 40% to 50% of Beijing’s population, got infected at that time. There were even cases of cease of classes in school and production in the factory. This flu, together with the ones in 1918 and 1968, were called the three big flus in the world and also called Asian flu. This flu spread very quickly. According to the recall of some infected children at that time, they played around happily after lunch, but some of them got sore throat and fever in the afternoon. On the next day, one third of students in a class was ill and later even over half of the students couldn’t come to school. They couldn’t tell at all who was infected from whom. The school had to give the students a vacation. It was so for primary schools, high schools and universities. Among the 8700 staff members and students in Tsinghua University then, 4200 were infected with flu. What was more serious was that the flu spread across the country. In the city of Shanghai only, the incidence was as high as 54%. As last it even crossed the border and spread to other countries. Till today, people still remember clearly this Asian flu. It is actually A2 (H2N2) flu. However at that time, there weren’t many ways to treat and prevent it. The major force of prevention of the disease was TCM and most patients were cured by TCM. People who had experienced that flu would never doubt the efficacy of TCM. At that time the medicines of TRT especially fructus forsythiae antidotal tablet were very popular and they were often sold out in the stores. Then TRT tried its best to organize all the resources to produce more so as to meet the needs of prevention of the disease.


In this special occasion, the sales network of TRT worked. With the sales network all over the country, the medicines of TRT were given to hands of patients in all places, playing a very important role in fighting against this flu. Meanwhile, TRT pharmacies also set up special counters for medicines for cold and sent medicines to schools, factories, mines and kindergartens. The principals of some units said to the staff sending the medicines, “It’s you who are the real King of Medicine. The King of Medicine in the legend only knows to wait for people to burn incense for them. You are so considerate as to send medicines to us.”


It was noteworthy that there was another characteristic of this flu: although it broke out rapidly and spread widely, the death rate was low. The efficacy of TCM was an indespensable reason for the low death rate in this outbreak.


This big flu also proved the necessity of the reform of TCM conducted by Yue Songsheng and Zheng Qidong under the encouragement and support from Peng Zhen. Without the reform, there wouldn’t have been the major forces like fructus forsythiae antidotal tablet (having good curative effect and easy to produce and transport) in fighting against the flu; and the medicines for fighting against the cold, either in category or quantity, wouldn’t be enough for the fight, thus affecting the battle against flu. Through this flu, TRT developed new fructus forsythiae antidotal tablet and bezoar antidotal tablet etc. - they are all well known famous medicines nowadays. And bezoar antidotal tablet became the product with the greatest annual sales volume in TRT. With this fight against the flu, both TRT and the TCM became famous.


After that, the medicine of TRT also played a great part in the fight against spread of hepatitis in the 1960s, making new contributions for people’s health.