More worryingly, theres a study that showed in a group of patients that either needed mechanical ventilation, admission to an intensive care unit, or ultimately died, 25.5% were current smokers, which was more than twice the rate of current smokers in a group of patients that did not have these severe adverse outcomes. Studying other coronavirus outbreaks provides further suggestions that smokers may fare worse with these types of viral infections than non-smokers.

In a study of a small number of patients with Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in South Korea, patients who smoked were less likely to survive than those who did not. There was also some more evidence that smokers had higher levels of a protein called DPP4, a receptor which allows the MERS coronavirus to enter cells in the lung, which could make their lung cells more susceptible to attack from the virus.

Dr Sharon shares more of her views with Suga, listen here: