Researchers at a top Paris hospital are examining whether nicotine could protect people from contracting coronavirus. According to reports, further trials are planned to test if the substance that is found in cigarettes could be used to treat COVID-19 positive patients. This came after researchers examined 343 coronavirus patients at a Paris hospital along with 139 other patients admitted with milder symptoms. Media reports suggest that out of these patients only five per cent were smokers that led researchers to study whether nicotine could help in the treatment of coronavirus positive people.
As per reports, 35 per cent of France's general population smoke cigarettes, which if compared to the number of smokers with coronavirus admitted to the hospital is much lower. According to reports, the New England Journal of Medicine also published a similar study last month where they examined 1,000 coronavirus positive patients in China and found out that only 12.6 per cent of them were smokers. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the number of smokers in China's general population stands at 26 per cent, again a much higher number compared to smokers admitted for coronavirus symptoms.
According to neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, who is also a co-author of the study, the theory behind the study is that nicotine could stick to the cell receptors of smokers, which therefore may prevent the virus from entering the cells and spreading to the whole body. The researchers are reportedly waiting for a go-ahead from the French health authorities to conduct clinical trials. The researchers plan to use nicotine patches on health workers to see if it could protect them from contracting coronavirus.
Scientists from across the world are conducting research on coronavirus to develop a vaccine. Health experts have warned that a vaccine could take a year and a half to develop fully, however, scientists from Oxford University, who are also working on a vaccine program and have started clinical trials in the United Kingdom, say that it may be ready by September this year. As per reports, there are more than 150 vaccines currently in development globally, but so far only five, including the UK and Germany projects have been approved for clinical trials.