A French study revealed that smokers were 80 percent less likely to catch the coronavirus than non-smokers of the same age and sex.
Jean-Pierre Changeux, emeritus professor of neuroscience at France’s Pasteur Institute and one of the authors of the study, said that when the virus tries to attach itself to receptors in the body, nicotine blocks the process and they separate.
Changeux said that researchers are preparing to launch a human trial using nicotine patches on one group of healthcare workers and patients versus placebo patches on another to see if there is a difference in how their bodies react to COVID-19, according to the Independent.
If the nicotine patches make people more resistant to infection, “it would give us a way to reduce the spread of the virus,” said Zahir Amoura, a professor at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere University Hospital, who was also involved in the initial study.
Similar testing will be carried out in 400 people who have been hospitalized with coronavirus symptoms, according to The New York Times, to find out if nicotine alters the progress of the disease.
The trial will begin in three weeks, and the researchers acknowledged they will be careful not to encourage people to take up smoking.
“That would be catastrophic,” said Changeux, according to the Times.
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