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SARS-CoV-2 is the virus responsible for COVID-19. As SARS-CoV-2 infection rates climb, scientists continue to search for drugs that could be repurposed for COVID-19 treatment. Authors of a new multiomics study report that melatonin use dramatically reduced the likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially for African Americans.

Multiomics is an approach to data analysis that incorporates multiple levels of cellular biology, including the genome (DNA), transcriptome (RNA), and proteome (protein). The network of interactions between these multiple “omes” and a virus and its host is referred to as the interactome.

The authors built multiomic data sets from several previous studies in humans, animals, and cell lines to investigate the SARS-CoV-2-host interactome. Based on these data sets, the authors identified 34 drugs that could be repurposed for COVID-19. Next, they reviewed the medical records of more than 18,000 participants for use of those drugs and presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

They found that melatonin usage was associated with a 28 percent reduced likelihood of having a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test for the general population and 52 percent reduced likelihood for African Americans. The authors also reported similarities between the disease progression of COVID-19 and inflammatory bowel disease as well as inflammatory profiles of COVID-19 and asthma.

This study used state-of-the-art data analysis to find associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection and a number of biological factors; however, clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of melatonin supplementation in preventing or treating infection. This study has not yet completed peer-review.

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