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University of Hawaii researchers identify drug that may help COVID-19 patients

Sleep-inducing drugs may be beneficial in treating patients infecting with COVID-19, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Hawaii’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and colleagues in Wuhan, China.

The study is available in pre-print from via MedRxiv at https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.03.25.20037721.

Research teams led by JABSOM’s Youping Deng and Ling Hu of Wuhan University of Science and Technology’s Tianyou Hospital reviewed the charts of 323 people hospitalized for COVID-19 between January 8 and February 20, 2020.

Eighty-two of the patients (25%) were given Zopiclone, a so-called hypnotic drug used to treat insomnia. Of that group, 77 experienced better results than those who did not take the drug and were discharged. Five others who took the drug had “unfavorable outcomes,” including one person who died.

“Favorable outcomes were more prevalent among the patients on hypnotics versus non-hypnotics at the same disease stage,” Dr. Deng added. “For patients in the more severe disease groups, the improvement effect was even more pronounced.”

The results suggest that better sleep quality and stress reduction may enhance a patient’s immune system. Zopiclone is also known to improve protection against infections.

The researchers caution against people who are prescribed Zopiclone sharing their medicine with people who have confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Such sharing is illegal and could endanger the health of the person with COVID-19.

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