French medics are investigating claims that nicotine patches might offer protection against the coronavirus after it was revealed very few smokers were turning up for treatment for the disease.
Cigarette patches will be administered to patients and caregivers to test the possible effectiveness of nicotine on preventing COVID-19 in order to test the theory.
The study will be conducted by researchers from the Pitie-Salpetriere University Hospital in the French capital Paris that is led by world-renowned neurobiologist and member of the French Academy of Sciences Jean-Pierre Changeux.
The hospital conducted a study on 350 patients and 130 outpatients who had all tested positive for COVID-19.
The study concluded that there were very few smokers among the patients.
Researcher and professor of internal medicine Zahir Amoura said: “Only five percent of the patients were found to be smokers, which is very low.
“Basically, we have 80 percent fewer smokers among COVID patients than in the general population of the same sex and age.”
Dr. Jean-Pierre Changeux, a specialist in nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, said that nicotine may prevent the virus from entering human cells.
He added: “Nicotine may prohibit the spread of the virus and could be a brake on its development, which would explain the low number of smokers among patients who tested positive.”
An article was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ that puts forward a central role of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in the pathophysiology of COVID-19.
According to reports, the research is not intended to encourage people to smoke, but solely to determine the effect of nicotine on the virus.
As such, nicotine patches of different dosages have been given to selected caregivers, to determine its effectiveness as a preventative measure, to hospitalised patients, to see if their symptoms decrease, and to patients in intensive care to see if their inflammatory state improves.
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Story By: Ernest Bio Bogore, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Newsflash
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