What to Know About That Study Claiming Melatonin Can Treat COVID-19 | RedSky Medical
  • Through a “big data” approach, Cleveland Clinic researchers have identified the sleep aid melatonin as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
  • Melatonin could possibly protect against COVID-19 by increasing tolerance to the virus.
  • Randomized controlled trials are needed before we’ll know if it works.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, there’s a strong push to develop drugs and vaccines that will help control this disease.

According to Feixiong Cheng, PhD, a researcher at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, one way that researchers have tried to fast-track potential treatments is by repurposing existing drugs.

Some examples of repurposed drugs already in use in the battle against COVID-19 include the steroid dexamethasone and the antiviral remdesivir.

“Traditional de novo [new] drug discovery is costly, and we have to wait a long time (10 to 15 years),” said Cheng. “Drug repurposing will significantly reduce cost and time for the emerging COVID-19 pandemic compared to traditional drug discovery approaches.”

One promising drug that Cheng’s team has identified is something that might already be in your medicine cabinet: the sleep aid melatonin.

According to Dr. Sanjay Sethi, who’s currently studying melatonin as a potential COVID-19 treatment at the University at Buffalo, a “big data” approach uses “large volumes of biological, biometric, and electronic health data for research.”

“It often requires special analytic tools and computing power to complete,” Sethi explained.

Cheng said that his team used network medicine methodologies as well as a large database of electronic health records from the Cleveland Clinic to identify symptoms and processes that COVID-19 has in common with other diseases.

They then obtained the host proteins that are targeted by human coronaviruses or are involved in critical pathways of the infection. These were compared to known drug-to-target interactions.

Based on their analyses, melatonin was identified as a potential treatment for COVID-19.

Sethi said that Cheng’s team had two lines of data that formed the basis of their assessment.

First, from their network analysis, they could see that there were pathways active in COVID-19 that could be affected by melatonin.

Second, they were able to determine that people who got tested for COVID-19 at the clinic who were also taking melatonin had a lower incidence of being positive for the disease.

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-to-know-about-that-study-claiming-melatonin-can-treat-covid-19