WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have discovered that melatonin could help prevent or treat COVID-19.
- Melatonin is commonly known as a sleep aid.
- Experts advise not to start taking melatonin without consulting their physician first.
Melatonin, a type of hormone best known to help in sleeping, could potentially treat coronavirus patients, according to new research from the Cleveland Clinic.
Melatonin regulates a person’s circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. The hormone was linked to a 30% reduced likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Though additional studies are required for full recommendation, the researchers said.
“It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” Feixiong Cheng, the lead author of the study and a researcher in the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, said in a statement.
“Large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19,” Cheng added. “But we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them.”
The results were published last month in the journal PLOS Biology.
The research team reviewed patient data from Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry. This led them to discover that melatonin usage was associated with a reduced likelihood of getting the virus. Specifically, the team observed the common symptoms and causes of death for severe COVID-19 and other diseases, such as sepsis and respiratory distress syndrome, to see if any available drugs on the market could help with coronavirus treatment.
The team found that autoimmune, lung and neurological diseases were most similar to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Researchers were also able to identify 34 potential drugs that might help and melatonin topped the list.
“Recent studies suggest that COVID-19 is a systematic disease impacting multiple cell types, tissues and organs,” Cheng said. “Knowledge of the complex interplays between the virus and other diseases is key to understanding COVID-19-related complications and identifying repurposable drugs.”
Source: Web MD