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AFP
April 24, 2020

France testing whether nicotine could prevent coronavirus

World

AFP
April 24, 2020

PARIS: Nicotine could protect people from contracting the coronavirus, according to new research in France, where further trials are planned to test whether the substance could be used to prevent or treat the deadly illness. The findings come after researchers at a top Paris hospital examined 343 coronavirus patients along with 139 people infected with the illness with milder symptoms.

They found that a low number of them smoked, compared to smoking rates of around 35 percent in France´s general population. “Among these patients, only five percent were smokers,” said Zahir Amoura, the study´s co-author and a professor of internal medicine. The research echoed similar findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month that suggested that 12.6 percent of 1,000 people infected in China were smokers. That was a much lower figure than the number of regular smokers in China´s general population, about 26 precent, according to the World Health Organization. The theory is that nicotine could adhere to cell receptors, therefore blocking the virus from entering cells and spreading in the body, according to renown neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux from France´s Pasteur Institut who also co-authored the study.