Research highlights concerns over e-liquids’ impact on SARS-CoV-2 infection, proposing link between vaping and increased vulnerability

Representation for vapes | Credits: Google
Representation for vapes | Credits: Google

United States: COVID-19 is still a concern for people living across the world; recently, a study revealed that vapers, along with tobacco smokers, are susceptible to getting infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The worries have been heightened due to the e-liquid, made of nicotine, propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and flavor chemicals – from which the e-cigarettes are made. It is to be noted that the research was conducted by experts at the University of California, Riverside.

According to the reports, propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin alone or along with nicotine can act as a catalyst in enhancing the COVID-19 infection.

Moreover, the researchers mentioned in the article published in the American Journal of Physiology that including benzoic acid in e-liquids helps prevent infections caused by propylene glycol, vegetable glycerin, and nicotine.

In this regard, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Systems Biology from the varsity – Rattapol Phandthong, stated, “Users who vape aerosols produced from propylene glycol/vegetable glycerin alone or e-liquids with a neutral to basic pH are more likely to be infected by the virus, while users who vape aerosols made from e-liquids with benzoic acid will have the same viral susceptibility as individuals who do not vape,” as per IANS.

How was the study conducted?

According to the reports by the researchers, a 3D tissue model of human bronchial epithelium was produced by the team after obtaining airway stem cells from human donors. Following this step, the tissue model was exposed to JUUL and BLU electronic cigarette aerosols to analyze the effect of COVID-19 infection on the human body.

What are the conclusions of the study?

The researchers discovered that in all the tissues, there was more ACE2, which is like a doorway for the virus. Also, TMPRSS2, which helps the virus enter cells, became more active in tissues exposed to nicotine aerosols.

A professor of the graduate division at the varsity – Pure Talbot underlined that the people who choose to vape should avoid the same as some of the products might increase their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection, which caused COVID-19, which is common.

Talbot mentioned, “It would probably be best for vapers to quit vaping for the protection of their health and to stop nicotine dependency.”

Furthermore, in this regard, Phandthong issued a warning and stated, “It is worth bearing in mind that the scientific literature has shown that a vaper who contracted SARS-CoV-2 has more complications during the recovery period and is more likely to develop long COVID-19, which can be serious and last many months post-infection. We hope our findings encourage vapers to stop vaping and discourage non-users from starting to vape.”

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