Melatonin considered as possible treatment for coronavirus, study finds

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Melatonin may be more useful than helping to get a good night’s sleep. A new study from the Cleveland Clinic suggests the hormone may be a possible treatment option for people infected with the novel coronavirus.

In an analysis of patient data from the Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry, researchers found that melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle, was “associated with an almost 30% reduced likelihood of positive tests for SARS-CoV-2. after adjustment for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities, ”according to a press release accompanying the study published in the journal PLOS Biology. (SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that causes COVID-19.)

Melatonin may be more useful than helping to get a good night’s sleep. A new study from the Clevland Clinic suggests the hormone may be a possible treatment option for people infected with the new coronavirus. (iStock)

The melatonin findings were derived from a “new artificial intelligence platform developed by researchers at the Lerner Research Institute to identify possible drugs for reuse of COVID-19,” according to the statement.

Specifically, the study researchers “exploited the network medicine methodologies and large-scale electronic patient health records of the Cleveland Clinic to identify clinical manifestations and common pathologies between COVID-19 and other diseases.

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More precisely, “they measured the proximity between the host’s genes / proteins and those well associated with 64 other diseases in several disease categories (malignant cancer and autoimmune, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and pulmonary diseases), where closer proximity indicates a higher likelihood of pathological associations between diseases. ”

For example, in severe cases, respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis have been identified as two leading causes of death in patients with COVID-19. The proteins associated with these two conditions “were closely related to several proteins of SARS-CoV-2,” the researchers found.

“This signals us, then, that a drug already approved to treat these respiratory conditions may have some utility in treating COVID-19 as well by acting on these shared biological targets,” said Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., Assistant staff at the Cleveland Institute for Genomic Medicine clinic and lead author of the study, in a statement.

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In the end, the researchers found that autoimmune, pulmonary and neurological diseases “showed significant network proximity to the SARS-CoV-2 genes / proteins and identified 34 drugs as candidates for reuse, melatonin in head.

That said, Cheng cautioned that the researchers’ results “do not suggest that people should start taking melatonin without consulting their doctor.” ”

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More research is needed, especially large-scale observational studies and randomized controlled trials, Cheng said, stressing that they are “essential to validate the clinical benefits of melatonin for patients with COVID-19.”

“Recent studies suggest that COVID-19 is a systematic disease affecting several types of cells, tissues and organs, so knowledge of the complex interactions between the virus and other diseases is essential to understanding the complications of COVID-19 and identify reusable drugs, ”Cheng said. “Our study provides a powerful and integrative network medicine strategy to predict disease manifestations associated with COVID-19 and facilitate the search for an effective treatment. “

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