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Smoking linked with increased expression of ACE2 gene in lungs


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Journal
medRxiv
Reuters - 11/09/2020 - New research shows that the gene encoding angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a protein that facilitates SARS-CoV-2 entry, is present at higher levels in the nose than in the bronchus, indicating that the nose may be more easily infected. Current smoking appears to increase the expression of this gene, specifically in the lower airways, while having no effects on expression in the nose, lead researcher Alen Faiz from University of Technology Sydney, in Australia, told Reuters. "This may indicate that smokers may be at risk for a more severe course of the infection by allowing its spread to the lung where most of the damage occurs," he said by email. "This higher level of ACE2 in current smokers was shown to be lower in individuals that stop smoking for more than a month, indicating that quitting smoking may be beneficial to reducing the risk for severe COVID-19." Smoking just three cigarettes is sufficient to increase the levels of ...


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