BOSTON – April 29, 2020: Dr. Alex Sneider, CEO of CureLab Oncology, and co-authors Aleksandr Kudriavtsev and Anna Vakhrusheva have published a paper in the International Reviews of Immunology titled, “Can melatonin reduce the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic?” In the paper, Shneider and his coauthors suggest that the application of melatonin to COVID-19 patients may reduce risk of death and life-threatening complications.
“Prior to its official publication, we made this material available online and received dozens of thousands of reads. Multiple doctors’ offices around the world approached us with questions and informed us that they had start administering melatonin to their COVID patients,” said Dr. Alexander Shneider, founder and CEO of CureLab Oncology.
“We decided not to patent that application of melatonin to COVID patients, making it freely available for everybody. Although the idea to use melatonin to save COVID patients came from our anti-inflammatory line of R&D, this particular work is totally free of any business component — it is our contribution to the common cause,” he added. “We also approached the NIH and Dr. Fauci for their feedback, but to date we have only received a standard bureaucratic response.”
The current COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most devastating events in recent history. The virus causes relatively minor damage to young, healthy populations, imposing life-threatening danger to the elderly and people with diseases of chronic inflammation. Therefore, if we could reduce the risk for vulnerable populations, it would make the COVID-19 pandemic more similar to other typical outbreaks.
Melatonin levels decline gradually over the lifespan of humans. Children have a higher melatonin levels than elderly people and exhibit relatively minor COVID-19 symptoms. Interestingly, bats are nocturnal animals that possess high levels of melatonin, which may contribute to their high anti-viral resistance.
Viruses such as SARS-Cov-2 induce an explosion of inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species, which may be mitigated by the natural antioxidant effects of melatonin. The programmed cell death caused by coronaviruses can result in significant lung damage, which can be inhibited by melatonin.
Coronavirus causes inflammation in the lungs that requires inflammasome activity; melatonin blocks these inflammasomes. General immunity is impaired by anxiety and sleep deprivation; melatonin improves sleep habits, reduces anxiety and stimulates immunity. Fibrosis may be the most dangerous complication after COVID-19; melatonin is known to prevent fibrosis. Mechanical ventilation may be necessary but yet imposes risks due to oxidative stress, which can be reduced by melatonin.
Thus, by using the safe, over-the-counter drug melatonin, we may be immediately able to prevent the development of severe disease symptoms in coronavirus patients, reduce the severity of their symptoms, and/or reduce the immuno-pathology of coronavirus infection on patients’ health after the active phase of the infection is over.
The entire paper is available online at the International Reviews of Immunology.
CureLab Oncology Inc. is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology biotech company headquartered in the greater Boston area. CureLab is dedicated to advancing new and safer therapeutics for solid tumors and other oncology and inflammatory indications. To learn more, visit curelaboncology.com.