DOST, Manila Doctors Hospital Exploring Melatonin versus Covid-19 Pneumonia
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By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — SEARCHING for a cure against the novel coronavirus sweeping the world seems a quest with no conclusion.
Well, hopefully, at least until 2021, when a vaccine is anticipated and hoped to be found.
Scientists of Oxford University in the United Kingdom had earlier voiced confidence their Covid-19 vaccine might be available by September. That’s just three months from now.
And nine months after the coronavirus outbreak, now a pandemic, from its epicenter in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
In many parts of the world pharmaceutical companies and scientists are racing to be the first to develop a vaccine versus the coronavirus of the SARS-CoV-2 variant.
Otherwise, the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 will continue to lay a path of deaths across the world.
Johns Hopkins University (JHU) of the United States as of June 15 on its Dashboard showed the global coronavirus cases nearing eight million at 7,934,277 and fatalities climbing to 433,930.
The U.S. is at the top of both confirmed infections and deaths, 2,094,059 and 115,732.
As indicated above, the search for a cure runs deep around Planet Earth, including in the Philippines.
To this end, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Manila Doctors Hospital (MDH) along United Nations Avenue, Manila, National Capital Region, are collaborating on project on pneumonia induced by Covid-19.
The Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), an attached agency of the DOST, and MDH will be conducting the project dubbed “Melatonin as Adjuvant Treatment for Covid-19 in Patients Requiring Hospitalization (MAC19 PRO): A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial (RCT).”
DOST through PCHRD and MDH forged their partnership as they noted Covid-19’s severity.
Apparently, the public-private partnership seized on melatonin’s being “as a commonly available and inexpensive sleep-aid supplement,” as well as its being “also known for its anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation and immune-enhancing effects which may help alleviate acute respiratory distress caused by viral infections such as Covid-19.”
Here’s the goal of the DOST-MDH undertaking.
To support the current efforts against the pandemic, the study seeks to probe whether administering high doses of melatonin (hdM) will lessen the need for intubation or ventilation support of hospitalized Covod-19 patients and ultimately improve the survival rate against the infection.
The study will be the first RCT worldwide which will explore the effectiveness and safety of using hdM as adjuvant therapy on top of standard therapy in hospitalized patients with Covid-19 pneumonia.
Adjuvant is used vis-à-vis the primary or main treatment of diseases. Examples of adjuvant therapy are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, among others.
PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime Montoya noted the project’s anchor and its significance vis-as-vis the continued spike of coronavirus cases in the Philippines.
“We are aiming to build on the use of melatonin as a commonly available supplement to support our fight against Covid-19,” Montoya says.
“If the project proves to be successful, we may be able to de-escalate Covid-19 cases better, and possibly reduce the mortality rate of the infection.”
The PCHRD told SDN — Science & Digital News the pilot study done for the project has also been accepted for publication in the Melatonin Research Journal, which observed that patients given with hdM showed faster clinical improvement. The article will be released next month.
The DOST through PCHRD is funding the Melatonin project. It will run for four months in selected hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu City.
In its email to SDN, the PCHRD cited the lack of vaccine and the race to fine a cure versus Covid-19.
A”the world continues to race to find a vaccine or a cure against COVID-19, hospitals across countries currently anchor the effective management of the infection on supportive and empirical treatments.
“In the situation report published May 2020, WHO (World Health Organization) showed that almost 86.7% of cases recorded in the Philippines are mild. Despite the low mortality rate, there are cases that lead to respiratory failure, septic shock, or even death, especially for identified high-risk groups or the immuno-compromised.”
Meanwhile, the Philippines based on figures released by the Department of Health (DOH) has as of June 15 at 4 p.m. registered 26,420 confirmed cases, deaths at 1,098, and recovered patients at 6,252.
In the battle against the unseen enemy, the DOST and its 18 sub-agencies have been contributing a lot, both in terms of manpower (scientists, researchers), personal protective equipment or PPE, technology, and money.
Thus, it can be safely said that the DOST has been a vital cog in the coronavirus struggle to contain its its transmission and spread. (SDN)
Featured image of rendered Covid-19 by and thanks to Alexey. Hulsov