A new study has revealed a reason why smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more likely to be seriously infected with the new coronavirus,media reported. The study, led by Dr. Janice Leung of the University of British Columbia and St. Paul’s Hospital, focused on a molecule called ACE-2.
ACE-2, or angiotensin-shifting enzyme II, is considered a gateway to new coronavirus infections in lung cells, and new data show that smokers and chronic obstructive pulmonary patients have far more such “entry points” in the lungs than healthy lung patients.
If a patient with new coronary pneumonia is more susceptible to the virus, it can cause more damage to the body.
Dr Leung explained: “Data from China suggest that patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at higher risk of adverse outcomes in the treatment of neo-coronary virus. We speculate that this may be because ace-2 levels in their airways may be higher than in people without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which may make the virus more susceptible to airway infection. “
When lung samples from patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were tested and compared to those who did not, the researchers found that ACE-2 levels were indeed higher in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Most importantly, those smokers also had higher levels of the enzyme, even if they did not have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
The good news is that ex-smokers have the same level of ACE-2 as people who never smoke, suggesting that quitting smoking can effectively reduce the risk of complications from neo-coronavirus. “This shows that now is the best time to quit smoking and protect yourself from cigarettes, ” says Dr Leung.