Scientists identify melatonin among drugs that could treat COVID-19

What are the benefits of melatonin?. A hormone naturally found in the body, melatonin is typically made synthetically in a lab, according to WebMD. Melatonin's job is to regulate the body's sleep-wake cycles. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, melatonin supplements may have several benefits. They include helping with certain conditions such as jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and pre- and post-surgery anxiety

The National Institutes of Health recently concluded that malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine doesn’t benefit COVID-19 patients, but a new study shows that several other drugs could be repurposed to treat the disease.

The research has also found that melatonin is leading the pack.

ExploreNIH concludes hydroxychloroquine doesn’t benefit COVID-19 patients

A study published this month in the journal “PLOS Biology,” saw scientists examine the mechanisms through which COVID-19 causes harm in the human body. They did so to pinpoint which previously developed drugs could possibly be effective against the disease.

While conducting research, scientists looked for similarities as they compared the aforementioned mechanisms with those of 64 other diseases, Medical News Today reported.

Other diseases compared to the mechanisms of COVID-19 fell into categories including cancer, pulmonary, autoimmune and cardiovascular. To analyze them, researchers used an “integrative network medicine strategy."

Scientists created an “interactome map” of COVID-19′s mechanisms of action, which allowed them to measure how alike it was to the other diseases. Once the different mechanistic similarities between the diseases and COVID-19 were examined, researchers named 34 drugs that could be used as possible COVID-19 treatments.

Cleveland Clinic’s patient data was used to provide additional confirmation of the drugs’ potential use in this manner. The analysis revealed melatonin was the top contender.

Typically used in the supplement form to treat insomnia and improve sleep in varying situations, melatonin usage was “significantly associated with a 28% reduced likelihood of a positive laboratory test result for SARS-CoV-2,” researchers wrote of its effects in treating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

ExploreScientists: COVID-19 vaccine expected to have flu-like side effects

They also determined a link to a decreased probability of a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2 compared to the use of angiotensin II receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. These drugs are used to control high blood pressure and treat heart failure among other cardiovascular-related conditions.

“In summary, this study presents an integrative network medicine platform for predicting disease manifestations associated with COVID-19 and identifying melatonin for potential prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” researchers wrote.

Despite the promising results from the study, lead study author Dr. Feixiong Cheng of the Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute, said it should be taken with caution.

“It is very important to note these findings do not suggest people should start to take melatonin without consulting their physician,” he said according to Medical News Today.

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