By Nancy Lapid
Sept 4 (Reuters) – The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Smoking tied to higher levels of COVID-19-associated genes
Smoking appears to increase the genetic contribution to COVID-19 infections, a small study suggests. The new coronavirus enters the body by hijacking proteins on the surface of healthy cells, in particular a protein called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In adult lungs, just three cigarettes can increase the activity of genes with the information for building ACE2, according to an international research team led by Alen Faiz of Australia’s University of Technology Sydney. Faiz told Reuters that ACE2 levels were lower in people who had stopped smoking for more than a month. “Our preliminary data suggest that second-hand smoke exposure of 1-year-old children … increased