Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
5 minute read
7 Apr 2020
2:12 pm

China’s use of bear bile to treat critical Covid-19 patients another potential PR nightmare

Nica Richards

The use of bear bile in a traditional Chinese treatment could undo all the positive work China has done in repairing its image on the use of wild animal products, and it also holds risks for those who use it.

An Asiatic black bear in a small cage. Image: iStock

China’s ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals in February, right in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic, was widely welcomed in light of the fact that the zoonotic virus was as a result of natural processes. Zoonotic infections are infectious diseases caused by pathogens that have jumped from non-human animals to humans. And, seeing as China’s 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, and the 2012 outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), from Saudi Arabia, were both also zoonotic coronaviruses, banning China’s thriving wildlife trade was the best way to quickly curb the consumption of...