Might nicotine patches be the way to avoid becoming infected with deadly coronavirus?
Are smokers less likely to contract COVID-19?
Researchers in France (of course) plan a clinical trial.
France 24 reports:
The findings come after researchers at a top Paris hospital examined 343 coronavirus patients along with 139 people infected with the illness with milder symptoms. They found that a low number of them smoked, compared to smoking rates of around 35 percent in France's general population.
"Among these patients, only five percent were smokers," said Zahir Amoura, the study's co-author and a professor of internal medicine.
The research echoed similar findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month that suggested that 12.6 percent of 1,000 people infected in China were smokers. That was a much lower figure than the number of regular smokers in China's general population, about 26 percent, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The theory is that nicotine could adhere to cell receptors, therefore blocking the virus from entering cells and spreading in the body, according to renown neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux from France's Pasteur Institut, who also co-authored the study.
The researchers are awaiting approval from health authorities in France to carry out further clinical trials. They plan to use nicotine patches on health workers at the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris — where the initial research was conducted — to see if it protects them against contracting the virus.