Smokers and vegetarians are less likely to contract COVID-19 infection, reveals a recent survey conducted by the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR).
According to the survey, smoking may be protective, despite COVID-19 being a respiratory disease, due to its role in increasing the mucous production that may be acting as the first line of defense among the smoking population.
The survey also highlighted that vegetarian food rich in fiber may have a role to play in providing immunity against COVID-19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiota.
The pan-India survey was conducted by a team of 140 doctors and research scientists to study the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and their neutralization capability to infer possible risk factors for infection.
The study assessed 10,427 adult individuals working in more than 40 CSIR laboratories and centers in urban and sub-urban areas spread across and their family members.
Earlier, two studies from France and similar reports from Italy, New York, and China reported lower Covid infection rates among smokers.
The survey also highlighted that vegetarian food rich in fiber may have a role to play in providing immunity against COVID-19 due to its anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiotaA study by America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which examined over 7,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19, also vindicated the above findings.
Interestingly, the study found that only 1.3% of survey participants were smokers, compared to the CDC report that 14 percent of all Americans smoke.
Similarly, UCL (University College London) academics that looked at 28 papers across the UK, China, US, and France found the proportions of smokers among hospital patients were 'lower than expected.
One of its studies showed that in the UK the proportion of smokers among COVID-19 patients was just five percent, a third of the national rate of 14.4 %.
In a separate study by Jin-jin Zhang to understand the influence of smoking behavior on the susceptibility to Coronavirus observed that only 9 (6.4%) patients had a history of smoking, and 7 of them were past smokers.
The study found that smoking populations were less likely to be infected with SARS-CoV-2.