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Dr Hilary on French study's findings that nicotine could protect against coronavirus

Dr Hilary Jones has shared his thoughts on the findings of a French study that suggests nicotine could protect against coronavirus after it found that four times as many non-smokers got the virus and developed Covid-19 compared to smokers.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Dr Hilary explained how the association between nicotine and coronavirus came out of China when they noticed that out of "the people who were admitted to hospitals with coronavirus, there were far fewer smokers that exist in the general population."

"They saw the same sort of thing happening in France. People who were admitted and those people who were recovering were still a lower number than the smokers in the general population so they thought about why this could be. It could be nicotine in the cigarette smoke that has an effect on the ACE 2 receptors," he added.

However, Dr Hilary pointed out that more research and trials need to be carried out.

He said: "In France, they are going to do a trial - it hasn't yet got ethical approval - on healthcare professionals on the frontline and on patients to see whether nicotine patches help."

"It's absolutely right that we do the trials and wait for the results before anybody acts differently," Dr Hilary warned.

Making it clear that smoking does NOT protect against coronavirus, Dr Hilary added: "No one is saying people should smoke because the dangers of smoking outweigh any possible protection from the nicotine itself, but there is a potential reason why nicotine could be helpful."

The discussion also featured cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra who spoke about the link between obesity and the risk of dying from coronavirus.

He said: "Excess body fat seems to have an adverse effect when it comes to viral illnesses. We know that from the flu, you're more likely to get severe illness if you're overweight. But with Covid-19 it seems to also drive an excessive immune response called the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) which unfortunately causes many people to die."

More information about the coronavirus can be found here.

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