An examination of clinical research has given more proof to the argument that people who smoke tobacco may have a reduced risk of being severely sick with the coronavirus. But, some bright minds disagree.
The University College London academics studied 28 documents and discovered that there were 'lower than estimated' proportions of people who smoke among hospital patients.
One professor of public health stated that there was "something strange" going on with smoking and coronavirus and medical authorities are having a tough time understanding the link.
No experts recommend people to smoke to prevent getting the coronavirus, but some scientists have theorized nicotine may play some role in preventing the disease from doing more harm, Vice reported. That is because the number of smokers among coronavirus patients is remarkably small.
For instance, in France a quarter of its population are smokers, but just 5.3 percent of patients with the virus have been reported to be smokers, and research has noted low figures in New York City and China. The analysis in issue was performed on 483 patients at the Paris Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital.
The study stated that cross-sectional analysis "strongly suggests that daily smokers have a much lower probability of developing symptomatic or severe SARS-CoV-2 infection than the general population."
The effect is very significant, it divides the risk by five for ambulatory patients and by four for hospitalized patients, something that is rarely seen in medicine, the study said.
However, French medical and scientific studies led by Jean-Pierre Changeux, a neurobiologist at the Institut Pasteur, doubt that nicotine could help prevent Covid-19 infections. They have released a similar hypothesis on the science portal Qeios.
The researchers came to this conclusion because their findings, which conflicted with that of the Chinese research, shows there seems to be only a small number of smokers among patients who have been infected with the coronavirus.
The study also warned that nicotine is a "drug of abuse" that can lead to (smoking) addiction. Smoking, the researchers said, has severe pathological consequences and remains a serious threat to health.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization said that those who smoke are likely to be more susceptible to coronavirus infection. According to the WHO, the act of smoking alone means that the fingers -- and possibly cigarettes that are contaminated -- come in contact with the lips which increases the likelihood of getting the virus from hand to mouth.
While many advise caution, the apparently "out there hypothesis" has aroused the attention of medical experts all over the world. The lower levels of transmission could result from any other chemicals having a protective effect in tobacco, or it may be that the number of smokers has been under-reported.