French researchers want coronavirus patients to wear nicotine patches to study if it helps prevent or control the disease.
Their examination of more than 480 COVID-19 patients in a large hospital revealed that about 5% of people were daily smokers, according to an article on Qeios. It is estimated that 25% of the French population smokes daily, according to the researchers.
“With the COVID-19 pandemic still on the rise, identifying prognostic factors remains a global challenge,” the article said. “The role of smoking has been suggested as an epidemiological risk factor for the disease, although it is very controversial. “
According to the CDC, smoking causes immunocompromised people and therefore a higher risk of serious illness. In addition, the FDA indicates that smokers may have a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and worse disease, Bloomberg reported.
While French scientists agree that smoking poses serious health risks, they say nicotine could be a treatment for coronavirus in controlled environments.
Thus, they plan to put nicotine patches on hospital patients and the general population to test their hypothesis. In addition, researchers want to try nicotine-based chew and sniff products.
Neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, co-author of the research, said that the theory that nicotine could bind to cell receptors and prevent the coronavirus from spreading, AFP reported.
Clinical trials await the green light from health authorities in France, reported The Guardian. The research team wants to put nicotine patches on medical workers, infected patients and people in intensive care units, the media reported.
The results are similar to data from China published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, the AFP reported. Of the 1,000 people infected in China, about 12.6% were smokers compared to about 26% in the general population, the newspaper said.
“We must not forget the harmful effects of nicotine,” said Jérôme Salomon, a senior health official in France, according to the AFP. “Those who don’t smoke should definitely not use nicotine substitutes. “