Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland in the brain. It is also involved in regulating circadian rhythms, which help coordinate and synchronise internal body functions.
"There is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients. Additional experiments and clinical studies are required to confirm this speculation," said the study published online in the journal Life Sciences.
Based on clinical features, pathology, the pathogenesis of acute respiratory disorder induced by either highly homogenous coronaviruses or other pathogens, the evidence suggests that excessive inflammation, oxidation, and an exaggerated immune response very likely contribute to COVID-19 pathology, according to the study.
"This leads to a cytokine storm and subsequent progression to acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and often death," the study said.
Melatonin, the researchers added, is protective against ALI/ARDS caused by viral and other pathogens.
For the study, Changwei Liu from Peking Union Medical College Hospital in Beijing and colleagues reviewed the beneficial effects of melatonin in attenuation of various diseases.
This molecule is effective in critical care patients by reducing vessel permeability, anxiety, sedation use, and improving sleeping quality, which might also be beneficial for better clinical outcomes for COVID-19 patients, the study added.
"While the safety of melatonin has been verified in many human studies, its effect when given to COVID-19 patients should be carefully monitored despite the very high safety profile of melatonin," it said.