As the new year begins, and news about the Covid-19 pandemic and the search for a vaccine remain present in the media, the search for new possible treatments for the virus continues.
And a new study carried out at the Cleveland Clinic, in the USA, recently published in the PLOS Journal offers a new prospect for those looking for a way to keep the virus at bay: Melatonin.
What is Melatonin and How can it help?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, found just above the middle of the brain, which regulates the body’s Circadian cycle, and so, it also controls the Sleep-Wake cycle.
However, besides helping adjust the sleeping hours, it was shown in the study that it was also associated with a 30% reduced possibility of testing positive for Covid-19, according to patient data the research team analyzed from the Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry.
The research team specifically looked at 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 drugs currently found on the market could help with the virus spread.
It was determined that most autoimmune, lung and neurological diseases were mostly similar to the disease caused by Covid-19, and they identified 34 potential drugs that might help treat the virus, among which Melatonin was a Top challenger.
So, how does Melatonin help? Feixiong Cheng Ph.D., a researcher at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, and lead author of the recent study showcased how this hormone might help us improve our Immune reactions againts the Sars-Cov-02:
“Melatonin may not directly promote the host defense system against the virus but increase the tolerance of the host to the virus,” Cheng explains. “In other words, in some aspect, to reduce the host defense system, for example, reducing the innate immune response and inflammatory reactions of the host.”
“Increase in the tolerance of the host to the virus will reduce the tissue and organ damage of the host and allow the host to survive sufficiently long to develop an adaptive immune response, particularly the specific antibody, and finally kill or help clean the virus from [the] body.”Feixiong Cheng Ph.D
Promising Discovery but More is Still Needed
This discovery shed new light on the study of drug use and repurposing, though more tests and research must be carried on in order to have the most reliable answers about a Covid-19 treatment specifically.
“There are many possible mechanisms of melatonin in treating COVID-19,” Cheng added, “and our group is actively investigating it using cell-based and pre-clinical models.”
So while results are being delivered and tests are being carried on, the public needs to take our own preventive precautions and act accordingly to avoid the virus spread and remain healthy, as much as we can.
However, Cheng’s study remains a very promising start and continues to push for more studies for the sake of overall health improvements, both for the control of the Covid-19 virus, as well as for the development of modern medicine, and healthcare.