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FEBS J. 2020 Mar 18. doi: 10.1111/febs.15303. [Epub ahead of print]

Is nicotine exposure linked to cardiopulmonary vulnerability to COVID-19 in the general population?

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SCHAR School of Public Policy, George Mason University, Arlington, VA, USA.
School of Systems Biology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA.


The recent emergence of COVID-19 has resulted in a worldwide crisis, with large populations locked down and transportation links severed. While approximately 80% of infected individuals have minimal symptoms, around 15-20% need to be hospitalized, greatly stressing global healthcare systems. As of March 10, the death rate appears to be about 3.4%, although this number is highly stratified among different populations. Here, we focus on those individuals who have been exposed to nicotine prior to their exposure to the virus. We predict that these individuals are 'primed' to be at higher risk because nicotine can directly impact the putative receptor for the virus (ACE2) and lead to deleterious signaling in lung epithelial cells.


addiction; infectious Disease; pandemic; public Health; tobacco


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