Coronavirus: French researchers use nicotine in coronavirus treatment | World | News

The group of scientists suspect either that nicotine could stop the virus from infecting cells or that nicotine was preventing the immune system from overreacting to the virus, The Guardian reported. It comes after a French study found that not many people who had caught the virus were regular smokers.

To put this theory to test, the researchers intend to provide Covid-19 patients in and out of intensive care with nicotine patches.

The would also test it on healthcare workers to analyse whether it can prevent the spread of the virus.

For the study, performed at Pitié Salpêtrière, part of the Hôpitaux de Paris, the group inspected 480 Covid-19 patients.

Three hundred and fifty were hospitalized and the rest recovered at home.

The outcome was that the patients in hospital, with a median age of 65, only 4.4 percent were regular smokers. But among those at home, with a median age of 44, 5.3 percent smoked.

In contrast, among the general population, 40 percent of those between ages 44 and 53 smoke, and around 11 percent of those aged 65 to 75 smoke.

The study concluded that far fewer smokers seem to have caught the virus and, if they have, their symptoms are less severe.

“Our cross-sectional study strongly suggests that those who smoke every day are much less likely to develop a symptomatic or severe infection with Sars-CoV-2 compared with the general population,” the study reads.

“The effect is significant. It divides the risk by five for ambulatory patients and by four for those admitted to hospital.

READ MORE: NHS Nightingale hospitals may treat non-coronavirus patients

To prove their theory, the scientists will provide nicotine patches for hospital patients, those in intensive care and frontline workers.

Other theorists have suggested nicotine could help tackle the virus.

A French study from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie found that just 8.5 percent of 11,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients were smokers compared to 25.4 percent of the country’s population.

And a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 12.6 percent of 1,100 Chinese patients were were current smokers and 1.9 percent used to smoke smoke in the past.

However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that cigarettes can increase the probabilities of contracting the disease.

“People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and may have worse outcomes from COVID-19,” the agency told Bloomberg News.

The FDA has previously warned smokers about “worse outcomes” for them.

The agency did not specify what those outcomes are.

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