DOH to hold melatonin trials for severe COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, Cebu hospitals

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 17 2020 05:48 PM | Updated as of Jun 17 2020 06:25 PM

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday said clinical COVID-19 trials of melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone, will be rolled out in hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu.

“Ang trial na gagawin sa pamumuno ng DOST (Department of Science and Technology) ay gagawin sa ilang ospital sa Metro Manila at Cebu sa loob nang 4 na buwan,” said Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire during a public briefing.

(The clinical trials will be headed by the DOST and will be done in a few hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu within 4 months.)

The DOST earlier announced that it has allocated P9.8 million for the trials, which was proposed by the Manila Doctors Hospital. The said hospital conducted initial studies that showed melatonin helped improve the condition of some of their patients.

Science Secretary Fortunato de la Peña said then that it would be undertaken by the Manila Doctors Hospital for 4 months and involve 350 patients.

Vergeire explained that the clinical trials would look into how melatonin can reduce the need for a mechanical ventilator for severe and critical COVID-19 patients. 

“Kasalukuyan pa pong tinutukoy ang mga ospital kung saan isasagawa ang trial at fina-finalize pa po ang protocol bago ito isailalim sa approval ng ethics committee at sa registration sa FDA (Food and Drug Association),” she said.

(They are currently identifying the hospitals where the trials will run and are finalizing the protocols before it applies for the approval of the ethics committee and registration with the FDA.)

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.