DOST looking for 300 COVID-positive participants for melatonin trials | Inquirer News
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DOST looking for 300 COVID-positive participants for melatonin trials

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 09:28 AM November 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — At least 300 coronavirus-positive individuals are needed to participate in clinical trials for use of melatonin — a hormone taken usually by persons who have trouble sleeping — as a supplementary treatment for COVID-19, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) said Wednesday.

The DOST has allotted P9.8 million to conduct clinical trials on the use of melatonin to treat coronavirus disease, after gaining the approval of Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

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The use of melatonin was proposed by the Manila Doctors Hospital led by Dr. Rafael Castillo after they observed improvement in persons with severe COVID-19 who were given melatonin.

“Melatonin, iniinom iyon ng mga hindi makatulog. Over-the-counter drug ito kaya pwede ka umorder sa mga online and it’s a relatively cheap medicine. Nagpropose sila na ito’y isasagawa, malaki, malakihan e siguro mga 300 plus participants,” DOST Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said in an interview over Teleradyo.

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(Melatonin is taken by people who can’t sleep. It’s an over-the-counter drug that can be ordered online and it’s a relatively cheap medicine. They proposed that 300 participants join the trials.)

Dela Peña noted that melatonin would only be used as adjuvant and not the main treatment for COVID-19. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an adjuvant is an ingredient used in some vaccines that helps “create a stronger immune response in people receiving the vaccine” to help vaccines work better.

But due to the decrease in COVID-19 cases, he admitted it has been hard to recruit participants in trials.

“Kaya lang napansin natin medyo madalang ang cases, diba bumababa. Kahit yung VCO [virgin coconut oil] trial namin sa PGH [Philippine General Hospital] for severe and moderate, nahirapan kami makadagdag ng mga participants dahil nga medyo umonti na ang admission ng severe and moderate cases,” he said.

(But we noticed that cases are now seldom because it is decreasing. Even our trials for VCO at PGH, we are having a hard time adding more participants because the admission of severe and moderate cases decreased.)

To date, there is still no cure or a vaccine for COVID-19 approved by the World Health Organizations.

But several pharmaceutical firms like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca already announced that the COVID-19 vaccines they are developing have shown encouraging results.

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TAGS: adjuvant, clinical trial, coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, COVID-19 Treatment, Department of Science and Technology, DOST, Melatonin
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