Extra Coronavirus Entry Points in Lung Cells of Smokers and COPD Patients May Increase Risk of Severe COVID-19 Infection

April 23, 2020 | Biotechnology

Reading time: 3-4 minutes

For your weekly Biotechnology news, Lab.Equipment has handpicked this interesting article from GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News for you:

The results of research by University of British Columbia scientists suggest that giving up smoking could lessen the chance that an infection with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will lead to severe COVID-19 disease. Their studies found that the lung cells of people who are current cigarette smokers, and individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), have increased levels of the angiotensin converting enzyme II (ACE-2) receptor that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to gain entry into host cells and cause infection.

“We found that patients with COPD and people who are still smoking have higher levels of ACE-2 in their airways, which might put them at an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19 infections,” commented research lead Janice Leung, PhD, clinical assistant professor at the University of British Columbia and St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, Canada. “We also found that former smokers had similar levels of ACE-2 to people who had never smoked. This suggests that there has never been a better time to quit smoking to protect yourself from COVID-19... More of this in the GEN – Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News Blog.

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