Was Hockney RIGHT? French researchers to give nicotine patches to coronavirus patients and frontline workers after lower rates of infection were found among smokers

French researchers are planning to trial whether nicotine patches will help prevent - or lessen the effects of - the deadly coronavirus. 
Evidence is beginning to show the proportion of smokers infected with coronavirus is much lower than the rates in the general population. 
Scientists are now questioning whether nicotine could stop the virus from infecting cells, or if it may prevent the immune system overreacting to the infection.
Doctors at a major hospital in Paris - who also found low rates of smoking among the infected - are now planning to give nicotine patches to COVID-19 patients.  

They will also give them to frontline workers to see if the stimulant has any effect on preventing the spread of the virus, according to reports. 
It comes after world-famous artist David Hockney last week said he believes smoking could protect people against the deadly coronavirus.
MailOnline looked at the science and found he may have been onto something, with one researcher saying there was 'bizarrely strong' evidence it could be true.  
One study in China, where the pandemic began, showed only 6.5 per cent of COVID-19 patients were smokers, compared to 26.6 per cent of the population.
Another study, by the Centers for Disease Control in the US, found just 1.3 per cent of hospitalised patients were smokers - compared to 14 per cent of America.
French researchers plan to give nicotine patches (pictured) to hospitalized coronavirus patients, intensive care patients and frontline workers
French researchers plan to give nicotine patches (pictured) to hospitalized coronavirus patients, intensive care patients and frontline workers
It comes after a study found 4.4% of 350 coronavirus patients hospitalized were regular smokers and 5.3% of 130 patients at home smoked compared to the general population. Pictured: A man wearing a face mask smokes a cigarette in Paris, France, March 16
It comes after a study found 4.4% of 350 coronavirus patients hospitalized were regular smokers and 5.3% of 130 patients at home smoked compared to the general population. Pictured: A man wearing a face mask smokes a cigarette in Paris, France, March 16
The French study, performed at Pitié Salpêtrière - part of the Hôpitaux de Paris, used data from 480 patients who tested positive for the virus.
Three hundred and fifty were hospitalized and the remainder recovered at home.
Results showed that of the patients hospitalized, with a median age of 65, only 4.4 percent were regular smokers. But among those at home, with a median age of 44, 5.3 percent smoked.
By comparison, among the general population, 40 percent of those between ages 44 and 53 smoke, and around 11 percent of those aged 65 to 75 smoke.
The researchers determined that far fewer smokers appear to have contracted the virus or, if they have, their symptoms are less serious.

Research by scientists in France found that smokers made up disproportionately small amounts of coronavirus patients both in and out of hospitals, suggesting any protective effect is not limited only to those who get seriously ill
Research by scientists in France found that smokers made up disproportionately small amounts of coronavirus patients both in and out of hospitals, suggesting any protective effect is not limited only to those who get seriously ill

'Our cross-sectional study strongly suggests that those who smoke every day are much less likely to develop a symptomatic or severe infection with Sars-CoV-2 compared with the general population,' the study reads. 
'The effect is significant. It divides the risk by five for ambulatory patients and by four for those admitted to hospital. We rarely see this in medicine.'
The team says it is not advocating that anyone start smoking because cigarettes have fatal health risks.
However, French neurobiologist Jean-Pierre Changeux, who reviewed the study, told The Guardian that nicotine may be hindering the virus from entering the body's cells.
In addition, the authors theorize nicotine could abate the immune system's overreaction to the virus, which leads to serious complications in some patients.  
The researchers will verify the study's results by giving nicotine patches to hospital patients, those in intensive care and frontline workers. 
This is not the first article to suggest that nicotine may ward off the coronavirus.
A French study from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie found that just 8.5 percent of 11,000 hospitalized coronavirus patients were smokers compared to 25.4 percent of the country's population.
And a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 12.6 percent of 1,100 Chinese patients were were current smokers and 1.9 percent were former smokers 
However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that cigarettes can increase the risk of contracting the disease. 
'People who smoke cigarettes may be at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, and may have worse outcomes from COVID-19,' the agency told Bloomberg News.
The FDA has previously warned about 'worse outcomes' for coronavirus among smokers but did not specify what that meant.  

Was Hockney RIGHT? French researchers to give nicotine patches to coronavirus patients and frontline workers after lower rates of infection were found among smokers Was Hockney RIGHT? French researchers to give nicotine patches to coronavirus patients and frontline workers after lower rates of infection were found among smokers Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:34 Rating: 5

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