• Scientist and researchers all over the world are in a quest to find a possible cure or vaccine for COVID-19
  • Trials on several resources had been conducted including the use of tobacco and nicotine
  • BAT claimed that they could develop a vaccine against COVID-19 using protein from tobacco leaves
  • Researchers in France ventured out and hypothesized that nicotine could be a preventive agent against COVID-19
  • WHO urged caution amid unproven claims of substances that would reduce risk of COVID-19 infection

Is tobacco the treatment for COVID-19 that everyone is waiting for? British American Tobacco claims it is possible.

Skepticism about the use of tobacco to develop a possible vaccine for COVID-19 crawled over the internet considering the hazard it poses. The World Health Organization convened several public health experts on April 29 to review studies involving tobacco use amid COVID-19. The result of the convocation revealed that smokers were more likely to develop severe disease with COVID-19 compared to non-smokers, according to a statement released by WHO.

Farmers have been hit by falling earnings from tobacco plantations
Farmers have been hit by falling earnings from tobacco plantations AFP / JUAN BARRETO

The specialized agency emphasized that infectious COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs. Smoking tobacco predisposes the individual to respiratory infections and an increase in the severity of the respiratory disease.

Smoking not only affects lung function but it also considered as a major risk factor to diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Once exposed to the deadly COVID-19, people with such existing conditions have a higher risk of developing severe illnesses.

A woman smokes a cigarette. Getty Images/ Alexander Heimann

Scientists and researchers all over the world are in a quest to find a cure or develop a vaccine amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Every possible source for vaccine or cure is being tested, including tobacco protein and nicotine.

One of the companies researching to develop a possible COVID-19 vaccine is British American Tobacco. The London-based cigarette manufacturer is reportedly ready to have its output tested on human beings.

BAT, in April, said that it was developing a COVID-19 vaccine out of proteins from tobacco leaves. The same yielded positive response during pre-clinical trials. A pre-investigative new drug application was submitted by the company to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and once approved, the trial would progress to Phase 1 or testing on humans, Deccan Herald reported.

The tobacco company claimed that if this endeavor was supported by government agencies and right manufacturers, they could produce one to three million doses per week.

Laboratory technicians of the German company Icon Genetics prepare proteins from tobacco for weighing in a laboratory in Halle, Aug. 14, 2014. Reuters

Meanwhile, a study at a hospital in Paris, France revealed that nicotine could be a “potential preventive agent” against COVID-19. Findings of the said study suggested that COVID-19 infection may be controlled by nicotine after. Further confirmation relative to the study was encouraged considering that nicotine could be addictive. Nevertheless, the proponents hypothesized that under controlled settings, nicotinic agents could be an efficient treatment for acute infections, such as COVID-19.

Amid the trials for vaccine and cure, WHO is continuously evaluating new researches linking tobacco and nicotine uses with the novel coronavirus. The organization urged everyone to be cautious with regard to claims that tobacco and nicotine could minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.