Clinical trials of nicotine patches are awaiting approval from the French health authorities, and if they are deemed successful, they could help protect patients and healthcare workers.
While it is not for certain, the researchers think that nicotine could stop the virus from infecting cells or that nicotine might be preventing the immune system from overreacting to the virus.
However, the researchers are not encouraging people to take up smoking. The study also reports that smoking carries potentially fatal health risks and kills 50% of those who take it up. Even if nicotine protects people from the virus, smokers often develop more serious symptoms due to the toxic effect of tobacco smoke.