CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Homeopathy 2023; 112(01): 030-039
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1750380
Original Research Article

Searching for the Genus Epidemicus in Chinese Patients: Findings from the Clificol COVID-19 Clinical Case Registry

Alexander Tournier
1   Institute of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
2   Homeopathy Research Institute, London, England
Yvonne Fok
3   Hong Kong Association of Homeopathy, People's Republic of China
4   International Institute for Integrated Medicine, Kingston, United Kingdom
Aaron To
3   Hong Kong Association of Homeopathy, People's Republic of China
› Author Affiliations


Background The Clificol COVID-19 Support Project is an innovative international data collection project aimed at tackling some of the core questions in homeopathy. This paper reports on the further investigation of the genus epidemicus concept during the first wave of the pandemic in the Chinese population.

Methods The design is an observational clinical case registry study of Chinese patients with confirmed or suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The symptoms were prospectively collected via a 150-item questionnaire. The concept of genus epidemicus, including the role of treatment individualization, was investigated by analyzing whether presenting symptoms clustered into distinct groups. Two standard statistical analysis techniques were utilized: principal component analysis for extracting the most meaningful symptoms of the dataset; the k-means clustering algorithm for automatically assigning groups based on similarity between presenting symptoms.

Results 20 Chinese practitioners collected 359 cases in the first half of 2020 (766 consultations, 363 prescriptions). The cluster analysis found two to be the optimum number of clusters. These two symptomatic clusters had a high overlap with the two most commonly prescribed remedies in these sub-populations: in cluster 1 there were 297 prescriptions, 95.6% of which were Gelsemium sempervirens; in cluster 2 there were 61 prescriptions, 95.1% of which were Bryonia alba.

Conclusion This is the first study to investigate the notion of genus epidemicus by using modern statistical techniques. These analyses identified at least two distinct symptom pictures. The notion of a single COVID-19 genus epidemicus did not apply in the studied population.

Authors' Contributions

Alexander T. and Yvonne F. were involved in the planning, conduct, analysis, and writing of the article. Robbert van H. and Aaron T. were involved in the planning and interpretation of the analyses and writing of the article. All authors agree to the contents of the paper.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 08 December 2021

Accepted: 07 March 2022

Article published online:
02 October 2022

© 2022. The Faculty of Homeopathy. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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