While clinical trials are about to begin across the world in the Philippines regarding melatonin as an adjunctive treatment for COVID patients, we as a community are lucky to have a local doctor right here, who is already using melatonin to help COVID patients in his practice. Dr. Richard Neel, at Little Alsace Urgent Care and Uvalde Urgent Care also spoke to us on the increased number of cases he’s seen lately.
“The virus is definitely back with a vengeance around here,” Dr. Neel stated about the many new patients he has began treating in the greater SA area lately. “I have treated more COVID patients in past 2 weeks than I have in all of the previous months.”
Just this Tuesday, he added that things have slowed down a little this week, compared to last week. He also reported that he is seeing more COVID patients with gastrointestinal symptoms.
Doctor Neel, who is continually researching, is also advocating for people to boost levels of Vitamin D more than ever after a recent study showed a link between low Vitamin D levels and COVID mortalities.
“There is a new study in Italy of 760 COIVD patients and their Vitamin D levels. Basically it suggests that people whose Vitamin D level was less than 17 had a very high mortality rate. People whose level was above 80 had no symptoms.”
Dr. Neel has treated many, many patients for COVID-19 using high doses of melatonin, vitamin C, and some also with an antibiotic as an adjunctive treatment.
Most patients have reported great improvement very quickly, with fevers breaking within 24 hours of beginning melatonin. A small percentage, who began treatment late, are also being treated with antibiotics.
“I see a trend in patients who started the melatonin late, after having symptoms for 5-7 days are sometimes having fevers return. I am estimating that has occurred in about 4 in 100 of my patients. So for anyone whose fever comes back after a full day of melatonin, I’m going to also prescribe antibiotics to cover secondary infections.”
Dr. Neel is a pioneer in using melatonin to treat his COVID patients after having studied melatonin’s potential and success to fight various infections for many years.
Other pioneers in the medical field are also seeking to use melatonin in the fight against COVID, and one of those doctors is Dr. Rafael Castillo, who will be leading a full-scale clinical trial in the Philippines after a pilot study of 10 hospital patients there showed great results (see story below).
“I am extremely pleased to see the kind of research I’ve been advocating for is starting to happen,” Dr. Neel stated this Tuesday. ““What I have done here is just a drop in the bucket. Based on the results I’ve seen in my patients, I expect to see these clinical trials demonstrate great potential to treat COVID patients all over.”
Full Scale Clinical Trials
Dr. Rafael Castillo is the senior author leading the pilot case study and the clinical trials in the Philippines. Professor Reiter, at UT Health Science Center in San Antonio, is also a co-author of the recent case study of the 10 patients in the Philippines that has sparked the interest of The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). According to CNN, the Department of Science and Technology has allocated P9.8 million to conduct clinical trials on the use of melatonin in COVID patients suffering from pneumonia.
“This preliminary and important clinical data encourage further and large-scale clinical trials,” the editors of this pilot study said.
According to CNN, this news of the recent pilot study was included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s weekly report to the Congress on the COVID-19 crisis. The article states, “DOST-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) will work with the Manila Doctors Hospital to conduct a four-month trial in selected hospitals to find out whether administering high doses of melatonin will lessen the need for intubation or ventilation support of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and ultimately improve the survival rate against the infection.”
A PCHRD press release states:
“The study will be the first RCT worldwide which will explore the effectiveness and safety of using hdM (melatonin) as adjuvant therapy on top of standard therapy in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 pneumonia. Adjuvant therapy is used in addition to primary or main treatment of diseases.
“We are aiming to build on the use of melatonin as a commonly available supplement to support our fight against COVID-19,” DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Jaime Montoya says. “If the project proves to be successful, we may be able to de-escalate COVID-19 cases better, and possibly reduce the mortality rate of the infection.”
The pilot study done for the project has also been accepted for publication in the Melatonin Research Journal, which observed that patients given with hdM showed faster clinical improvement. The article will be released next month.
With support from DOST-PCHRD, the project will run for four months in selected hospitals in Metro Manila and Cebu City. As the world continues to race to find a vaccine or a cure against COVID-19, hospitals across countries currently anchor the effective management of the infection on supportive and empirical treatments.