A study of more than 44,000 new coronavirus patients in China has revealed a disturbing fact that men are more likely to die from the disease linked to the infection,media said. This may be related to smoking. Other studies assessing Chinese cases, published in scientific journals such as The Lancet and the Journal of the American Medical Association, raise the same question, the Peruvian Business Daily reported on March 19.
Although it is not yet possible to know for sure what is behind this phenomenon, there are hypotheses that point to a well-known male dangerous habit: smoking.
An article published this month in The Lancet helps us understand this gender difference. The article details that smoking is associated with an increase in expression of ACE2, a protein used by the new coronavirus to enter human cells. In other words, it is a promoter that helps the infectious agent enter the body and begin to reproduce uncontrolledly.
Another study to be published will find that ACE2 is more common among Asian men. This may be related to the fact that, according to 2018 data, smoking rates in China are higher than those of women (288 million and 12.6 million, respectively).
Following this line, Professor Stanton Glanz of the University of California, San Francisco, said on the university’s portal: “In Chinese patients diagnosed with neo-coronary pneumonia, smokers are 14 times more likely to deteriorate, including death, than other patients. “
However, current scientific literature does not yet support smoking as a factor in the risk of new coronary pneumonia. More cases and different races need to be analysed in more detail.
The report notes that while more research is needed to accumulate more evidence, experts agree that smoking or using e-cigarettes can exacerbate symptoms of neo-coronavirus infection.
“Flu infections cause inflammation of the respiratory tract, sometimes even the lungs. If you add the inflammation caused by smoke, the damage to the respiratory system will be even more severe. This principle also applies to new coronaviruses. Florida pulmonary specialist Sebastian Fernandez-Bussy told reporters.
According to the experts, e-cigarettes contain a liquid that, when heated into aerosols, carries zinc, lead, manganese, volatile substances and ultrafine particles. All of these substances can trigger acute or chronic inflammation, which alters the body’s defenses.
Fernandez-Bussy explains that the habit of smoking can lead to chronic lung damage and eventually a decline in respiratory capacity. As a result, these patients, such as those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, have reduced their ability to respond to infections in the event of any lung infection, such as new coronary pneumonia.
Experts stress that, although not very common, the new coronavirus may reach the lungs. Once there, it can cause pneumonia or inflammation of the lungs, but “everything depends on the response of everyone’s immune system and the level of inflammation caused by the virus.”
Mr Glanz said medical institutions should include no smoking, no e-cigarettes and no exposure to secondhand smoke in the list of new crown pneumonia precautions, and he said it was an ideal time to strengthen smoking cessation laws.