NHS hospital to trial nicotine patches as coronavirus treatment – The Sun
AN NHS hospital is set to trial nicotine patches as a treatment for coronavirus.
Studies of hospitalised Covid-19 patients across the globe have shown a surprisingly low prevalence of smokers.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
And now doctors at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital, South Wales say nicotine must urgently be considered as a way of treating Covid-19 and are waiting for the go-ahead for a trial.
Despite this, experts have warned this is not an excuse for people to smoke or take up smoking.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that smokers may already have lung disease or reduced lung capacity "which would greatly increase risk of serious illness" from Covid-19.
Medics at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital published a letter in March saying nicotine patches could ward off deadly coronavirus.
They wrote in the British Medical Journal: "In this new disease smokers seem to have particularly poor outcomes.
"We suggest that the simple use of nicotine patches should be urgently considered and discussed."
Jonathan Davies, a consultant trauma surgeon at the hospital, told MailOnline: "We are looking at a number of possible points at which nicotine might be a valid intervention from prevention to treatment.
"Of course none are proven at present and the idea of any trials would be to investigate further.
"Whether or not we can proceed will depend up approval and funding which we are looking at urgently at present."
The suggestion led to conversations with Professor Judith Hall, an intensive care expert at Cardiff University, who has said she will approach British funding bodies for support to trial.
She told The Guardian the idea was "an interesting one" – but pointed out that its value would be difficult to prove.
"Getting trials under way is of course time-consuming and complicated business, but we must try and advance new ideas as quickly as possible in this crisis," she added.
Researchers in France were the first to announce a planned trial of nicotine patches at a major hospital in Paris – after a review of patients at the hospital also found low rates of smoking among the infected.
Droves of studies from around the world have since revealed a low prevalence of smokers in hospitals with Covid-19.
We must try and advance new ideas as quickly as possible in this crisis
A review of 28 studies by University College London in April found a "lower than expected" rate of smokers among coronavirus patients.
In particular, one of the studies showed that in the UK the proportion of smokers among Covid-19 patients was just five per cent, a third of the national rate of 14.4 per cent.
And in China, a study found that 3.8 per cent of patients were smokers – despite more than half of the population regularly smoking cigarettes.
Despite this, evidence has shown that once smokers are in hospital, they are more likely to deteriorate rapidly and die from the disease.
Nicotine has been shown to curb lung damage in animals with acute respiratory syndrome, a life-threatening condition coronavirus can trigger.
And studies have suggested it may hinder a severe over-reaction of the immune system called a cytokine storm.
This is where the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, and in an effort to battle the virus can actually make the patient even more poorly and the prognosis bleaker.
Another theory disregarded by scientists is that nicotine reduces ACE-2 receptors, which are proteins in the body the virus binds to in order to infect cells.
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) have cautioned that reports suggesting that the percentage of smokers attending hospital for Covid-19 is less than we might have expected are "uncertain" and rely on people being able to report on their smoking and healthcare professionals having the time to record it.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, added: "The UK symptom tracker data is now showing that smokers are at an increased risk of developing symptoms of Covid-19 (fever and a persistent cough).
Smokers are at much more at risk of range of serious health problems requiring them to be admitted to hospital
"There is also evidence that smokers in hospital who have coronavirus are at a higher risk than non-smokers of severe illness and death.
"Furthermore, there are many other reasons to quit for covid, as smokers are also much more at risk of range of serious health problems requiring them to be admitted to hospital.
"The reports of a trial in France to see whether nicotine patches can help prevent or help lessen symptoms of Covid-19 should not put smokers off trying to quit, but encourage them to use alternative sources of nicotine to help them stay quit.
"Smokers are much more likely to succeed in quitting smoking if they use alternative forms of nicotine, such as patches, gum and e-cigarettes which are much less harmful than smoking."
Dr Hilary Jones has also refuted claims that smoking protects against coronavirus – after artist David Hockey suggested cigarettes helped in the fight against coronavirus.
He said: "There's no evidence whatsoever to support that.
"In fact, if you look at the comorbidities, the reasons why people with pre-existing conditions fare so badly with Covid-19 is because of their age, because of them being obese or because they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) caused by years of smoking.
"So whether you smoke today or whether you smoked for many years, you are more likely to suffer from the consequences of Covid-19.
"I'm afraid David, there is no way out of this. Smoking is not good for you now and never has been."
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – STAY IN THE KNOW
Don't miss the latest news and figures – and essential advice for you and your family.
To receive The Sun's Coronavirus newsletter in your inbox every tea time, sign up here.
To follow us on Facebook, simply 'Like' our Coronavirus page.
Get Britain's best-selling newspaper delivered to your smartphone or tablet each day – find out more.
Source: Read Full Article