The article states that both tobacco smoke and nicotine liquids increase the likelihood that SARS-CoV-2 molecules bind to ACE2 receptors on the surface of lung cells. This indicates that cigarettes and vaping increase the risk of infection with the Corona virus.
The article explained that the Corona virus takes advantage of the ACE2 receptors in particular to enter human cells, but the amount of these receptors varies in the lungs of smokers and non-smokers.
In order to clarify the matter, a team of American doctors led by Professor, Robert Taran, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, studied the differences in the biological activity of the lung cells of smokers and non-smokers, and also tested how tobacco smoke extract affects the cells of smokers.
The scientists conducted similar experiments with e-cigarette (vape) cells, and also tracked how the liquid of the vape device affected lung cells and how it interacted with SARS-CoV-2 particles.
It turned out that both tobacco smoke extract and vaping fluids significantly increased the number of ACE2 molecules on the surface of lung cells and in the fluid secretions within their tissues.
It also turned out that these changes negatively affected the ability of lung cells to resist infection. Most of the time, virus particles entered the lung cells of smokers by 20% compared to non-smokers.
Taran and his colleagues do not yet know why this is happening. They hypothesized that nicotine molecules might increase the cells’ vulnerability to coronavirus attacks on their own. In the event that nicotine accumulates in the lungs, the proportion of calcium in the cells increases, as the ions of this chemical element are required for the operation of many viral proteins.
Doctors hope to receive a more clear answer to the question of the effect of smoking regular and electronic cigarettes on infection with the Corona virus through conducting more scientific research.