The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic raises considerable public health problems and there is an urgent urgency to find treatments based on available scientific knowledge. Smokers may be far less at risk of contracting coronavirus infection, suggests a new study. French researchers plan to test the nicotine patch in COVID-19 patients.
Researchers from the Hôpitaux de Paris and the Pasteur Institute in France, meanwhile, put forward a hypothesis that they hoped could ultimately help save lives. New epidemiological data reveal that current smoking status appears to be a protective factor against SARS-CoV-2. Nicotine patch clinical trials are awaiting approval from the state health authority.
“We hypothesize that the nicotinic acetylcholine (nAChR) receptor plays a key role in the pathophysiology of COVID-19 infection and may represent a target for the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection,” the researchers said.
However, it is important to note that the researchers did not encourage the public to stop smoking. Smoking carries potentially fatal health risks and can be fatal for around 50% of those who do. The researchers highlight that, although nicotine can protect individuals from deadly novel coronaviruses, smokers who suffer from it often experience more serious symptoms due to the toxic effects of tobacco on the lungs.
According to data collected at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, only 4.4% of COVID-19 patients treated at the hospital were regular smokers and among those who recovered, 5.3% smoked.
Nicotine might stop the coronavirus from reaching cells in the body and prevent its spread, according to the famous French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux who reviewed this research. However, these findings must be verified in clinical studies where frontline health workers, COVID-19 patients, and those in intensive care will be given a nicotine patch.
“Our cross-sectional study strongly recommends that those who smoke daily are far less likely to develop asymptomatic or severe infections with Sars-CoV-2 compared to the general population. The effect is significant. This divides the risk by five for outpatients and four for those who are hospitalized. We rarely see this in medicine, “The Guardian quotes the authors of the Pitié-Salpêtrière report.
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