Man, I’ve been waiting a long, long time for something like this.
French researchers are planning to trial whether nicotine patches will help prevent – or lessen the effects of – the deadly coronavirus.
Evidence is beginning to show the proportion of smokers infected with coronavirus is much lower than the rates in the general population.
Scientists are now questioning whether nicotine could stop the virus from infecting cells, or if it may prevent the immune system overreacting to the infection.
Doctors at a major hospital in Paris – who also found low rates of smoking among the infected – are now planning to give nicotine patches to COVID-19 patients.
They will also give them to frontline workers to see if the stimulant has any effect on preventing the spread of the virus, according to reports.
It comes after world-famous artist David Hockney last week said he believes smoking could protect people against the deadly coronavirus.
MailOnline looked at the science and found he may have been onto something, with one researcher saying there was ‘bizarrely strong’ evidence it could be true.
One study in China, where the pandemic began, showed only 6.5 per cent of COVID-19 patients were smokers, compared to 26.6 per cent of the population.
Another study, by the Centers for Disease Control in the US, found just 1.3 per cent of hospitalised patients were smokers – compared to 14 per cent of America.
And research by hospitals in Paris found that smokers were under-represented in both inpatients and outpatients, suggesting that any protective effect could affect anyone, not just those hospitalised by their illness.
‘Our cross-sectional study strongly suggests that those who smoke every day are much less likely to develop a symptomatic or severe infection with Sars-CoV-2 compared with the general population,’ the study reads.
‘The effect is significant. It divides the risk by five for ambulatory patients and by four for those admitted to hospital. We rarely see this in medicine.’
The team says it is not advocating that anyone start smoking because cigarettes have fatal health risks.
Well, naturally not. But why take any chances?
Another factor here in the States might be that we smokers have been “social distancing” for years now, if not by our own choice. As pariahs, societal lepers despised and cast out to slink away, in all kinds of weather, to our ever-shrinking “Smoking zone” ghettos, we’ve long been accustomed to decent folks keeping themselves far out of the way of our filth, our stench, all the revolting physical infirmities and deformations caused by our weak, sinful natures. Our exile has turned out to be a shield.
So not only has smoking, by being that which has not (yet) killed us, possibly made us stronger somehow, it also seems God has seen fit to bless smokers with some sort of mysterious Wuhan Woo Woo-inhibiting genetic quirk carried by our precious nicotine. O, Irony!
Hey, I’ll take it.