On February 9, 2020, Chinese academician Zhong Nanshan published a retrospective research paper on coronavirus cases in Medrxiv, a medical preprint magazine. According to Academician Zhong's paper "Clinical characteristics of 2019 novel coronavirus infection in china", it shows that among 1099 new coronavirus patients, 927 are never smokers (85.4%), 21 are ex-smokers (1.9%) and 137 are current smokers (12.6%). The proportion of smokers in Chinese population is 28.1%. These data seem to indicate that smokers are far less likely to be infected with the novel coronavirus than non smokers.
On April 22, 2020, France Inter reported that a research team from the Pitié -Salpétrière hospital in Paris and Jean Pierre Changeux, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, are about to launch a new research. It will focus on "can nicotine protect human body from the invasion of novel coronavirus?" The reason is that field surveys of patients with new coronavirus showed a puzzling fact: compared with non-smokers, smokers are less likely to be infected. The researchers surveyed 350 hospitalized patients and 130 patients with mild symptoms who did not need to be hospitalized. Based on the total population data of 2018, the researchers wanted to check whether these patients smoked more than other people of the same gender and age. The conclusion is that smokers are very rare among these patients."We found that only 5% of these patients are smokers. It's a low proportion. In general, the proportion of smokers is 80% less than other coronavirus-infected patients of the same gender and age."Zahir Amoura, a professor of internal medicine, explained.
On the other side, Jean Pierre Changeux speculated that nicotine may prevent the coronavirus from attaching to objects and human surfaces. Furthermore, it may prevent coronavirus from invading cells. That means nicotine may inhibit the spread of the virus and novel coronavirus pneumonia.
REF: 《A nicotinic hypothesis for Covid-19 with preventive and therapeutic implications》
According to Israel's Jerusalem Post on June 7, 2020, Israeli scientists found that smoking can provide some protection against the novel coronavirus. The results are similar to those of researchers in China, France and Italy.
Since there were conflicting reports about the impact of smoking on the risk of contracting novel coronavirus, an Israeli team led by Dr Ariel extracted data from more than 3 million adult members of Clalit,Israel's largest health service center. Novel coronavirus pneumonia seems to be reduced by half in smokers, according to the result of their research.
Of the more than 3 million adults involved in the study, 114, 545 were tested for the virus, of which only 4% were positive. The researchers matched people who tested positive to those who tested negative in a ratio of 1:4, taking into account as many variables as possible, such as age, gender and race. They found that among those who tested positive, smokers accounted for 9.8% and 19% of the total population.
Smoking seems to bring some benefits, with 11.7% of those who tested positive had a history of smoking, compared with 13.9% of the general population in the study. As a result, the study showed that people with a history of smoking had a 19% lower risk of contracting the virus.
A recent study by Professor Zahir of pitie Salpetriere hospital in Paris, France, also showed that smokers are about half as likely to be infected as other people. Of novel coronavirus pneumonia patients who visited hospitals from February 28th to April 9th, only 4.4% of inpatients and 5.3% of outpatients smoked daily, compared with 25.4% in the general population, he said.
The study also found that smokers were 80% less likely to have severe symptoms, leading researchers to suggest that the free-state nicotine in cigarettes binds to cell receptors to block the virus.
Similarly, a study of 28 papers by University College London showed that the number of smokers infected with coronavirus was "lower than expected"; A Chinese study also found that only 6.5% of 5,300 hospitalized patients with coronavirus were smokers; A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States found that only 1.3% of the more than 7000 people who tested positive were smokers, the Daily Mail of Britain reported."Our results provide compelling evidence for the current association between smoking and an individual's risk of COVID-19 infection," the researchers wrote in the paper.
"The potential benefit of free-state nicotine is that it can partly explain the exacerbation or adverse consequences of smokers hospitalized for coronavirus. It is because these patients will inevitably stop taking nicotine during hospitalization."Dr. Constantinos Fasalinos from University of Siatica in Greece wrote in his paper, internal medicine and emergency medicine.
On February 2, 2020,Experts in Shenzhen, China have also started relevant researches. IUOC, a heating-not-burn tobacco device, attracts researchers' attention. The nicotine produced by one cigarette heated by IUOC is the same as that produced by a lighting one, which is free-state nicotine. But the amount of nicotine released by a heat-not-burning cigarette is twice as much as that of a lighting one, and it's almost pure nicotine aerosol. On July 1st, 2020, researchers in Beijing found that more than 600 cigarette stores in Beijing were selling the IUOC device.
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