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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2023, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (4): 324-331.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2023.06.004

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A mathematic equation derived from host-pathogen interactions elucidates the significance of integrating modern medicine with traditional Chinese medicine to treat infectious diseases

Jianjun Sun   

  1. Department of Biological Sciences, Border Biomedical Research Center, University of Texas at El Paso, TX 79968, USA
  • Received:2022-12-15 Accepted:2023-05-12 Online:2023-07-17 Published:2023-07-17
  • Contact: Jianjun Sun

The prognosis of infectious diseases is determined by host-pathogen interactions. Control of pathogens has been the central dogma of treating infectious diseases in modern medicine, but the pathogen-directed medicine is facing significant challenges, including a lack of effective antimicrobials for newly emerging pathogens, pathogen drug resistance, and drug side effects. Here, a mathematic equation (termed equation of host-pathogen interactions, HPI-Equation) is developed to dissect the key variables of host-pathogen interactions. It shows that control of pathogens does not necessarily lead to host recovery. Instead, a combination of promoting a host's power of self-healing and balancing immune responses provides the best benefit for host. Moreover, the HPI-Equation elucidates the scientific basis of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a host-based medicine that treats infectious diseases by promoting self-healing power and balancing immune responses. The importance of self-healing power elucidated in the HPI-Equation is confirmed by recent studies that the tolerance mechanism, which is discovered in plants and animals and conceptually similar to self-healing power, improves host survival without directly attacking pathogens. In summary, the HPI-Equation describes host-pathogen interactions with mathematical logic and precision; it translates the ancient wisdoms of TCM into apprehensible modern sciences and opens a new venue for integrating TCM and modern medicine for a future medicine.

Key words: Host-pathogen interactions, HPI-Equation, Pathogen-targeted medicine, Host-based medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Self-healing power, Immune response, Tolerance

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