Smoking Gun

Today, I would like to share some interesting results of a clinical study on Coronavirus performed in France.

The study was conducted by Institut Pasteur, a leading French research centre, in a high school in Crépy-en Valois, the same town where a 60-year-old teacher was diagnosed with Coronavirus in late February, before dying. It ran  between 30 March and 4 April and results await peer review. Almost 700 teachers and pupils, as well as their families were studied; the participants completed a questionnaire that covered history of fever and/or respiratory symptoms since 13 January 2020 and were tested for the presence of antibodies for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes the Coronavirus disease.

Among many other interesting outcomes, the study found that smokers contracted Covid-19 four times less than non-smokers.

It is highly counter-intuitive that smokers are less likely to catch a virus that can cause deadly attacks on the lungs. Arnaud Fontanet, an epidemiologist at the institute Pasteur, warned that they were not encouraging people to take up smoking, remarking that smokers who do catch the virus “risk suffering more complications” than others. To provide an order of magnitude, a survey from China  finds that smokers with Covid-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe disease.”

Scientists suggested it could be the nicotine in cigarettes that was behind the surprising results regarding infection, although more research is needed. Nevertheless, French health care authorities are considering prescribing nicotine patches to frontline health workers and patients.

Many other findings came from the study conducted in Crépy-en Valois, for example, 17% of the people that tested positive to Coronavirus, was showing no symptoms. The results can be found on the Internet.


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