Melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid, was found by a new study to be a hormone that could be a suitable treatment option for COVID-19.

With novel coronavirus cases leaping amid what some people have identified as the "fall surge," repurposing drugs already approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for new remedial purposes remains the most effective and practical approach to treatment and prevention of the illness.

According to the National Institutes of Health, malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine is not an effective remedy for COVID-19 patients. However, a new study exhibits that many other drugs could be purported to treat the virus.

The research study found that melatonin is leading the range of treatments, reported AJC.

Feixiong Cheng, Ph.D., a researcher at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, also agreed that one of the ways researchers have made efforts to fast-track probable COVID-19 treatments is by repurposing existing drugs.

Some examples of repurposed drugs already used in tackling the virus involved the antiviral remdesivir and steroid dexamethasone, reported Healthline.

According to Cheng, "Traditional de novo [new] drug discovery is costly, and we have to wait a long time (10 to 15 years). Drug repurposing will significantly reduce cost and time for the emerging COVID-19 pandemic compared to traditional drug discovery approaches."

COVID-19 is reportedly a relatively new virus, and scientists are still making efforts to discover potential treatments.

A study in November published in the journal "PLOS Biology" evaluated patient information from Cleveland Clinic's COVID-19 registry. The researchers detected that melatonin usage was associated with an almost 30 percent diminished likelihood of testing positive for the virus following scientists' adjustment for race, age, comorbidities, and smoking history. The numbers were larger among individuals in certain clusters. People with diabetes had a 48 percent lower susceptibility, and African-Americans had a 52 percent diminished likelihood of contracting the virus.

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With over 11 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and only a few treatments available, the suggestion of melatonin as a treatment and prevention has gained curiosity. 

However, as luring to believe that a sleep aid from drugstores could serve as a COVID-19 treatment, experts indicate that people believing in it as a silver bullet is remarkably wrong.

According to Dr. Ryan Marino, an emergency room physician and medical toxicologist in Ohio, "It's a gigantic leap. This finding may certainly be worth studying further, but it will not change how I treat my patients or myself, and I would urge everyone caution in interpreting these headlines," reported Yahoo Life.

Scientists have published new research underscoring several common pathological mechanisms between COVID-19 and other illnesses. The study on melatonin lays the groundwork for upcoming randomized controlled studies to confirm the early findings.

Early evidence suggests that melatonin may contribute to respiratory viruses by diminishing inflammation. Clinical studies are currently being initiated to test whether this could prove effective for COVID-19 as well.

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