According to a new research in France, nicotine could protect people from contracting the novel coronavirus, reports LiveMint.
However, further trials are awaited to test whether the substance can help prevent or treat the deadly coronavirus infection.
A study at a major Paris Hospital, named Pitie-Salpetriere, suggests that current smoking status appears to be a protective factor against the covid-19 infection.
The researchers studied 343 coronavirus patients along with 139 people infected with the illness with milder symptoms.
It was found that among the total 482 people, only five per cent were smokers. It should be noted that around 35 per cent of France’s general population smokes with tobacco usage being the major cause of death.
"Among these patients, only five percent were smokers," Zahir Amoura, the study's co-author and a professor of internal medicine was quoted as saying as per the report.
Interestingly, the study is in line with the findings of a Chinese study published at the end of March in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggested only 12.6 per cent of 1,000 people infected with the virus were smokers while the number of smokers in China is around 26 per cent, as per World Health Organisation.
As per a Guardian report, the renowned French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, who reviewed the study, suggested the nicotine might stop the virus from reaching cells in the body preventing its spread.He further added that nicotine may also lessen the overreaction of the body’s immune system that has been found in the most severe cases of Covid-19 infection.
Another neuroscientist, Jean-Pierre Changeux, said that nicotine may bind to the same receptors as coronavirus, making it harder for the disease to take hold.
The researchers plan to uses nicotine patches on health workers so see if it protects them against contracting the deadly virus. They are awaiting approval from health authorities in France to carry out further clinical trials.
However, Jerome Salomon, the head of France’s national health agency, said that the nicotine usage is only an unproven hypothesis at this stage. He warned that smoking remains the number one killer in France, with 75,000 people dying of smoking-related complications each year.
The study concludes by saying that further clinical trials are needed to establish the relationship between nicotine usage and coronavirus response.
It further adds, “Smoking has severe pathological consequences and remains a serious danger for health. Yet under controlled settings, Nicotinic agents could provide an efficient treatment for an acute infection such as Covid-19.”
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