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Plan to study nicotine patches as potential coronavirus treatment

  • Published at 01:47 pm May 18th, 2020
Singapore, no smoking
An odd move for Singapore? BIGSTOCK

Doctors in Wales could stage trial after suggestion smokers may be less at risk of Covid-19

Investigations into the potential of nicotine patches to fight Covid-19 are being planned.

The idea was raised by doctors at a hospital in Wales where the improvised treatment is being practiced, reports the Guardian.

Physicians at the Royal Glamorgan hospital have been routinely giving out nicotine patches to patients with coronavirus and who had been smokers.

A short paper published in the British Medical Journal as a result stated that, at least in chronic smokers, the lung injuries in those infected with Covid-19 were being exacerbated by nicotine withdrawal. The addictive stimulant could interfere with the production of elements that led to inflammation, according to its authors.

“Of course, everyone should stop smoking. If you are a smoker then you are at risk of all the secondary complications if the virus does take hold,” said Davies. But he suggested in such cases nicotine could be used as a supplement.

In France, research at a major Paris hospital suggested a substance in tobacco – possibly nicotine – may be stopping patients who smoke from catching Covid-19. Clinical trials of nicotine patches are awaiting the approval of the country’s health authorities.

However, the researchers also insisted they were not encouraging people to start smoking, which carries other potentially fatal health risks.

While nicotine may protect smokers from the virus, those who have caught it often develop more serious symptoms because of the toxic effect of tobacco smoke on the lungs, they added.