Sleep regulating drug Melatonin could help treat Covid-19

CAPE TOWN- New research has found that Melatonin, an anti-inflammatory hormone that help regulates sleep, may be a viable treatment option for Covid-19.

As the race for the Covid-19 vaccine continues, repurposing drugs already approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for new therapeutic purposes has been found to be an efficient and cost-effective approach to treat or prevent the disease.

According to the findings published in PLOS Biology, patients from the Cleveland Clinic in the United States who were already taking melatonin were nearly 30% less likely to test positive for Covid-19, independent of risk factors like age or other diseases.

The sleep aid drug is typically taken as a supplement to fight jet lag or as a possible treatment for insomnia.

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While researchers in the study say there isn’t full proof yet of the drug’s effectiveness, it is possible that it may be effective at certain stages of the disease or for prevention.

Authors of the study said: “Our data cannot assure that melatonin can treat Covid-19 patients. This is exactly what we plan to do right now in the Cleveland Clinic. We’re testing melatonin in the earlier Covid-19 patients to see if melatonin can reduce symptoms.”

“Melatonin is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for Covid-19 patients.”

The lead author of the study and a researcher in the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, Feixiong Cheng, said in a statement that these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician.

““Large-scale observational studies and randomised controlled trials are critical to validate the clinical benefit of melatonin for patients with COVID-19, but we are excited about the associations put forth in this study and the opportunity to further explore them,” said Cheng.

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