Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette!

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  • #1
Spinnor
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Reading the Forum insights article, https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/i-know-the-math-says-so-but-is-it-really-true.994400/
I read something interesting, from post #19,

" For example, about two months ago I read on a Russian news website that two independent groups from French universities surveyed European hospital records of covid patients and discovered that only about 0.1% were smokers. They came to the conclusion that smoking cigarettes prevented infection of the virus and suggested that healthcare workers involved in the epidemic wear nicotine patches. "

https://www.google.com/search?q=For...=chrome..69i57j69i64&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
 

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  • #3
Spinnor
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From that paper,

" Our peer reviewed meta-analysis of these 19 papers found that smoking was associated with more than a doubling of odds of disease progression in people who had already developed COVID. "

From my first quote, " two independent groups from French universities surveyed European hospital records of covid patients and discovered that only about 0.1% were smokers. "

I wonder if people lied about smoking?
 
  • #4
Ygggdrasil
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For example, about two months ago I read on a Russian news website
Regarding Russian news sites:
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian intelligence services are using a trio of English-language websites to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, seeking to exploit a crisis that America is struggling to contain ahead of the presidential election in November, U.S. officials said Tuesday.

Two Russians who have held senior roles in Moscow’s military intelligence service known as the GRU have been identified as responsible for a disinformation effort meant to reach American and Western audiences, U.S. government officials said.
https://apnews.com/article/ap-top-n...ck-elections-3acb089e6a333e051dbc4a465cb68ee1

Unless you can actually cite the studies that 0.1% of COVID-19 patients smoked, I'd be highly inclined to not trust you relaying what someone else heard from an unnamed "news" source.
 
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  • #5
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This paper lists some of the flaws in that study:

There were flaws in this paper because of mistakes in data collection and led to incorrect results of meta-analysis.7 The case numbers were wrong in four out of five studies. The extent of the error is rare in academic papers. Lo et al.8 also pointed out there was a ‘null hypothesis significance testing (NHST)’ flaw in this paper, and led to the inappropriate conclusions.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7337749/#!po=3.84615
 
  • #6
Spinnor
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I may be missing something but the analysis seems straightforward. For each person tested who gets the virus you find out if they current smokers. That is all the info you need? If smokers are underrepresented in the group of people who get the virus then maybe there is a connection between smoking and not catching the virus?

Now, if people lie about smoking that will throw off your analysis. Is there a simple drug test for smoking?

Thanks.
 
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  • #7
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I may be missing something but the analysis seems straightforward. For each person tested who gets the virus you find out if they current smokers. That is all the info you need? If smokers are underrepresented in the group of people who get the virus then maybe there is a connection between smoking and not catching the virus?

Thanks.
classic hidden variable problem, have to control for age and other health conditions. Chainsmokers are probably underrepresented in a sample of people over 80. 40 year old smokers no doubt have a better survival rate than 70 year old diabetics.
 
  • #8
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I think unless we can see the study, there is little to talk about. I am extremely skeptical, since the effect is so strong for this to be true the misdiagnosis rate has to be under 0.1%. Further, it would show up in many places.
 
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  • #9
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So what data do we need to test my hypothesis, smokers are less likely to catch the virus but if smokers catch the virus they are more likely to die from it?

If smokers really were significantly less likely to get the virus then the study does not have to be so careful about details?
 
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Although I remain skeptical, I'm open: Are there any studies which show the effect of nicotine on corona viruses? Can a corona virus be cultured in a nicotine-infused medium and compared to one not infused? Does nicotine or for that matter any of the other products in cigarette smoke impede the growth of the virus? For example here is one study which shows tobacco inhibits Herpes Simplex growth:

Tobacco inhibits Herpes Simplex growth

And here is one specifically suggesting nicotine binds with ACE2 receptor:

Nicotine may bind with the ACE2 receptor, particularly in people with COVID-19, and thus could interfere with further SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 binding (pre-print in silico study)
Nicotine and covid
 
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  • #11
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Regarding Russian news sites:

https://apnews.com/article/ap-top-n...ck-elections-3acb089e6a333e051dbc4a465cb68ee1

Unless you can actually cite the studies that 0.1% of COVID-19 patients smoked, I'd be highly inclined to not trust you relaying what someone else heard from an unnamed "news" source.
The news article I was referring to was from RT.com and the facts of the article I quoted were from memory. I was only trying to make an ironically humorous point about what seemed to me contradictory in regards to scientific studies and public health. I don't blame anyone for being skeptical of my anecdotal evidence that smoking cigarettes prevents covid infection. I may indeed have been an unwitting pawn in Putin's malign campaign of misinformation. On the other hand I quote a RT.com article (10/19/2020)that suggests that cannabis can protect against covid lung damage and I'll let you be the judge if it's misinformation:

" Scientists have discovered that CBD oil may increase levels of a protective chemical in the lungs and other organs which could stave off the worst effects of Covid-19. However, more research is needed to apply this to treatment.

Cytokine is a type of protein secreted by immune cells in response to inflammation and infection. However, an overactive cytokine response during a particularly bad case of Covid-19, for instance, can wreak havoc on the lungs and even kill patients.
A naturally occurring peptide called apelin has been shown to reduce this response in laboratory models of another killer disease, adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.

In newly published research by scientists from the Dental College of Georgia and Medical College of Georgia, CBD oil has been shown to increase apelin levels, in addition to improving oxygen levels and reducing inflammation – and thus lung damage incurred – in ARDS.

Blood levels of apelin dropped to almost zero in the ARDS model but increased twenty-fold when CBD was administered.

“CBD almost brought it back to a normal level,” researcher Dr. Jack Yu said.

Apelin functions as a key regulator which helps normalize blood pressure and inflammation and is produced in the heart, lungs, brain, and blood. It works in tandem with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to control blood pressure.

However, ACE2 is the very means by which Covid-19 enters human cells and disrupts normal function.

The coronavirus interrupts the working relationship between ACE2 and apelin and prevents them from allowing blood vessels to relax, hijacking cells to produce more virus.

“It is an association; we don't know yet about causative, but it is a very good indicator of the disease,” researcher and DCG immunologist Babak Baban says.

Reduced ACE2 levels appear to have a knock-on effect on the production of apelin, and therefore reduce naturally occurring protection within the lungs and associated organs.

The researchers caution that more research is needed but point to the strong correlation found in their earlier work on ARDS and the important role played by apelin, as well as the benefits of increasing apelin levels via CBD treatment.

However, there is significant and ongoing debate within the scientific community as to the efficacy of CBD, which has been touted as a cure-all for conditions ranging from depression, chronic pain, and sleep disorders to recurring skin conditions like acne.

There is a dearth of evidence and clinical research to support these alleged benefits, with most of the support for CBD as a treatment stemming from anecdotal evidence.

“The public appears to believe CBD is medicine,” says Davey Smith, chief of infectious diseases and global public health at the University of California San Diego.

To date, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD-related treatment, which helps with epileptic seizures.

“It's being promoted for all kinds of purposes for which it's never been studied,” says James Adams, chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine."
 
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  • #12
Ygggdrasil
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Although I remain skeptical, I'm open: Are there any studies which show the effect of nicotine on corona viruses? Can a corona virus be cultured in a nicotine-infused medium and compared to one not infused? Does nicotine or for that matter any of the other products in cigarette smoke impede the growth of the virus? For example here is one study which shows tobacco inhibits Herpes Simplex growth:

Tobacco inhibits Herpes Simplex growth

And here is one specifically suggesting nicotine binds with ACE2 receptor:
Nicotine and covid
Nicotine is poisonous to humans at high enough doses, so it's not surprising that enough nicotine could inhibit a virus. For example, in the first study you linked to, the authors needed 0.6 mg/mL to observe ~50% inhibition of HSV production, which is quite a high concentration. In contrast, the nicotine concentration in the blood of daily smokers is typically ~30-50 ng/mL, about four orders of magnitude smaller than the amount of nicotine they needed to see an effect in the HSV studies.
 
  • #13
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So what data do we need to test my hypothesis, smokers are less likely to catch the virus but if smokers catch the virus they are more likely to die from it?

If smokers really were significantly less likely to get the virus then the study does not have to be so careful about details?
Give it 6 more months- I think that dozens of groups are already on this.

I did a little surface searching and saw a study into effectiveness of nicotine patches against COVID being underway. I think that’s the wrong approach. I want to think that nicotine absorption through patches will NOT affect near the number of receptors in the respiratory system than compared to if inhaled- a patch will not distribute enough to affect every cell. Releasing nicotine INTO the blood circulation system is very different than releasing it DIRECTLY into the surface of the blood vessels in QUESTION. And since this virus works on attaching to primarily near surface cells in the respiratory system, their results are going to be considerably more muted than a study done on nicotine absorption directly through the respiratory system (maybe their intention to show only a slight correlation thereafter this controversial study). Commonalities in localization and taking that into consideration should be common sense in this case.

Apparently, the French healthcare system has access to free/universal healthcare, so the only deceptive reporting in whether a person is a smoker or not would come through guilt/psychological factors and not through lying in order to reduce healthcare premiums- that’s as honest as we can get in a study. They should stick to studying similar regions or they’ll get skewed results.

There are already some studies circulating on how a person that has ever smoked (100 tobacco cigarettes in their lifetime) has developed an over expression of receptors for goblet cells- that itself is enough to prove that someone that who has ever really smoked is slightly more vulnerable to this infection.
 
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All I know is that the only two times in my life that I had pneumonia (one each viral and bacterial) I was a smoker. I stopped forty years ago and have not had pneumonia since. Seems to me that any cure that has people smoking is a dead end… literally.
 
  • #15
Fervent Freyja
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All I know is that the only two times in my life that I had pneumonia (one each viral and bacterial) I was a smoker. I stopped forty years ago and have not had pneumonia since. Seems to me that any cure that has people smoking is a dead end… literally.
In no way do these findings suggest a person take up smoking. It’s simply evidence that that we can possibly develop a therapy/drug that can fill up receptors that this virus attaches to.

The introduction of nicotine through patches is a weak attempt, and probably the only real option they believed they had. The mechanism behind introduction through the respiratory system makes sense to me, but introducing it elsewhere does not.

If this turns out to be valid, a nicotine gas therapy may be a great early treatment option, and you would think especially for those at the highest risk. But because nicotine has so many other side effects, I don’t think this would receive approval, regardless of how many lives it could save. Treating high risk patients with this might increase their risk for stroke or heart attack during their stay (and at this point their vitals may not even be stable enough to introduce this kind of treatment).
 
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