Doctors at a hospital in Wales are planning to conduct a formal study to investigate the potential use of nicotine patches as a treatment for coronavirus patients.
The idea, initially suggested by researchers in France, stems from statistics that suggest people who smoke are less likely to contract the virus.
The idea has already been used by doctors in Wales as an improvised treatment method, but now they wish to conduct a formal trial using nicotine patches.
Jonathan Davies, a consultant trauma surgeon at Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Wales, said that physicians have been handing out nicotine patches to covid-19 patients who are smokers with interesting results. He said:
“We saw the pandemic coming from China and then the horrific stories from Italy, so we were doing our own research and looking at as many papers as we could.”
A short paper was published in the British Medical Journal reporting that nicotine could interfere with the production of elements leading to inflammation and the lung injuries for those infected with coronavirus were being inflamed by nicotine withdrawal.
While he suggested nicotine could be used as a supplement in such cases, he made it clear that taking up smoking does not mean you will be immune to coronavirus. He said:
“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.”
However, the idea of using nicotine patches spread to Cardiff University who have approached British funding bodies for financial support to conduct a formal trial into the possible role of nicotine in fighting the virus.
Researchers mentioned that while nicotine may play a role in protecting people who smoke from catching the virus, people who do contract covid-19 may develop more serious symptoms due to the effect of tobacco smoke in their lungs.
Source: The Guardian