DOST allots P9.8 million for melatonin clinical trials to treat COVID-19

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2020 06:22 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2020 09:20 PM

MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has allocated P9.8 million in funds to back clinical trials for the use of sleep-regulating hormone melatonin as a supplementary treatment for COVID-19 patients.

DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña announced this in a video posted by DOSTv on social media.

De la Peña said that the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development had already approved the clinical trial.

“Ito ay gagamit ng high-dose melatonin as an adjuvant or supplementary treatment for COVID-19,” he said.

(This will use high-dose melatonin as an adjuvant or supplementary treatment for COVID-19.)

He pointed out that melatonin “is a safe, commonly available and affordable supplement.”

Other countries have also started using melatonin as a possible treatment for COVID-19 patients.

Originally used to help improve sleeping habits and stimulate cellular immunity, melatonin is now being studied in other countries as a COVID-19 treatment because research showed it could protect against acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“Initial studies have actually shown na ang melatonin ay nag-i-improve ng outcome sa mga pasyenteng na-admit sa Manila Doctors Hospital,” De la Peña said, explaining that it is supposedly helpful for patients with pneumonia and other “high-risk features.”

(Initial studies have actually shown that melatonin has improved the outcome of patients admitted at the Manila Doctors Hospital.)

This is why doctors at the said hospital have submitted the clinical trial proposal to DOST.

De la Peña said the project will be undertaken by a team of doctors from Manila Doctors Hospital. It will last for at least 4 months and will involve 350 patients.

Another clinical trial being funded by the DOST is the one involving virgin coconut oil. Enrollment of patients and participants for this study is still ongoing.