Marginalised groups are among people the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet are among the least protected from it by governmental actions to date. Indeed, the COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp focus the stark inequities that exist in access to health and social support services for marginalised people who live precariously in Europe, often outside formal healthcare systems and social, labour and legal protection measures.
The Nobody Left Outside coalition has developed this briefing paper for the WHO European Office for Investment for Health
(C-EHRN) report on the impact of COVID-19 on vital
harm reduction services seeks to bring these voices
of front-line workers at drug consumption rooms
(DCR’s), harm reduction outreach teams and
PWUD themselves to highlight their experiences
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prevalence studies of current smoking, among hospitalized COVID-19 patients, demonstrated an unexpectedly low prevalence among patients with COVID-19. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of smoke from cigarettes on ACE-2 in bronchial epithelial cells. Normal bronchial epithelial cells (H292) were exposed to smoke by an air-liquid-interface (ALI) system and ACE-2 membrane protein expression was evaluated after 24 hours from exposure. Our transcriptomics data analysis showed a significant selective reduction of membrane ACE-2 expression (about 25%) following smoking exposure. Interestingly, we observed a positive direct correlation between ACE-2 reduction and nicotine delivery. Furthermore, by stratifying GSE52237 as a function of ACE-2 gene expression levels, we highlighted 1012 genes related to ACE-2 in smokers and 855 in non-smokers. Furthermore, we showed that 161 genes involved in the endocytosis process were highlighted using the online pathway tool KEGG. Finally, 11 genes were in common between the ACE-2 pathway in smokers and the genes regulated during endocytosis, while 12 genes with non-smokers. Interestingly, six in non-smokers and four genes in smokers were closely involved during the viral internalization process. Our data may offer a pharmaceutical role of nicotine as potential treatment option in COVID-19.