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Could melatonin stop you from getting COVID-19?

A new study suggests melatonin could help people become less likely to get severe symptoms from COVID-19.

Sara Haight and Alta Findlay administer a COVID-19 test at a testing site run by the Salt Lake County Health Department at Glendale Middle School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Sara Haight and Alta Findlay administer a COVID-19 test at a testing site run by the Salt Lake County Health Department at Glendale Middle School in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

A new study suggests that melatonin — typically something people take to help them fall asleep — might just pull the covers over the novel coronavirus.

What’s going on?

A new analysis from the Cleveland Clinic’s COVID-19 registry found that melatonin was “associated with a nearly 30% reduced likelihood of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 after adjusting for age, race, smoking history and various disease comorbidities,” according to a news release.

  • The study was published in the journal PLOS Biology.

The details

The study used a “novel artificial intelligence platform developed by Lerner Research Institute researchers to identify possible drugs for COVID-19 repurposing,” according to the release.

It’s a very technical study, but here’s how the researchers explained everything. The researchers “measured the proximity between host genes/proteins and those well-associated with 64 other diseases across several disease categories (malignant cancer and autoimmune, cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological and pulmonary diseases), where closer proximity indicates a higher likelihood of pathological associations between the diseases.”

The researchers said any drug that could help with “respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis” could work to help stop COVID-19, according to Fox News.

Key quote:

  • “This signals to us, then, that a drug already approved to treat these respiratory conditions may have some utility in also treating COVID-19 by acting on those shared biological targets,” said Feixiong Cheng, assistant staff in Cleveland Clinic’s Genomic Medicine Institute and lead author on the study, in a statement.