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Smokers Up To 80% More Likely To Be Admitted To Hospital With Covid, Study Says

Smokers up to 80% more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid, study says

Data also finds smokers more likely to die from disease compared with those who have never smoked

Smokers are 60%-80% more likely to be admitted to hospital with Covid-19 and also more likely to die from the disease, data suggests.

A study, which pooled observational and genetic data on smoking and Covid-19 to strengthen the evidence base, contradicts research published at the start of the pandemic suggesting that smoking might help to protect against the virus. This was later retracted after it was discovered that some of the paper’s authors had financial links to the tobacco industry.

Other studies on whether smoking is associated with a greater likelihood of more severe Covid-19 infection have produced inconsistent results.

One problem is that most of these studies have been observational, making it difficult to establish whether smoking is the cause of any increased risk, or whether something else is to blame, such as smokers being more likely to come from a lower socioeconomic background.

Dr Ashley Clift at the University of Oxford and colleagues drew on GP health records, Covid-19 test results, hospital admissions data and death certificates to identify associations between smoking and Covid-19 severity from January to August 2020 in 421,469 participants of the UK Biobank study – all of whom had also previously had their genetic makeup analysed.

Compared with those who had never smoked, current smokers were 80% more likely to be admitted to hospital and significantly more likely to die from Covid-19 if they became infected.

To investigate, Clift and his team used a technique called Mendelian randomisation, which uses genetic variants as proxies for a particular risk factor – in this case genetic variants that contribute to whether someone is more likely to smoke or to smoke heavily – to obtain further evidence for a causal relationship.

Even though the contribution of each of these variants is small and it is not necessarily understood why they increase a person’s chances of being a smoker, they avoid many of the limitations of observational studies and thereby help to give a clearer picture of whether there is a biological link between smoking and Covid-19.

“The study adds to our confidence that tobacco smoking does not protect against Covid-19, as their Mendelian randomisation analyses are less susceptible to confounding than previous observational studies,” wrote Dr Anthony Laverty and Prof Christopher Millett of Imperial College London in a linked editorial published in the journal Thorax.

The Mendelian randomisation analysis also supported the link between smoking and worse Covid-19 outcomes, finding that a genetic predisposition to smoking was associated with a 45% higher risk of infection and a 60% higher risk of hospital admission for Covid-19.

A genetic predisposition to heavy smoking was associated with a more than doubling in the risk of infection; a fivefold increase in the risk of hospital admission; and a tenfold increase in the risk of death from the virus, the team found.

Clift said: “Our results strongly suggest that smoking is related to your risk of getting severe Covid, and just as smoking affects your risk of heart disease, different cancers, and all those other conditions we know smoking is linked to, it appears that it’s the same for Covid. So now might be as good a time as any to quit cigarettes and quit smoking.”

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Health

AIDS Agency Chief Says 1 Out Of 100 Persons Positive In Kaduna

The Executive Secretary of Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Isa Baka has said a survey had revealed that one out of 100 people is positive to the AIDS disease in the state.

Baka disclosed this speaking shortly after a walk in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, on Thursday in Kaduna.

The theme of the year’s’ World AIDS Day is “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services’’.

He said the present statistics was a remarkable development against previous survey which gave 11 of every 100 people in the state.

Baka added that the AIDS prevalence in Kaduna, which is at 1.1, being a survey carried out by the state government itself, was later done at the national level, where that of Kaduna was confirmed as very accurate.

“At the national level, the prevalence of the virus (AIDS) was at 1.4 (four people out of 100 test positive), while that of Kaduna is confirmed to be 1.1, was in determination of the state government and KADSACA’s efforts to ensure minimal prevalence of the virus,” he said.

He said as part of efforts to continue reducing the prevalence of AIDS in the state, government initiated programmes across the 23 LGAs.

He said one of the UNICEF anchored programmes, which is the ‘Adolescent and Youths Living With HIV and AIDS’ programme, was present and effective in at least, 18 LGAs and 24 sites in the state.

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Health

Malawi Commences Large Scale Malaria Vaccination- First In The World

Malawi has commenced large-scale vaccination of children against malaria.

This is the first large-scale malaria vaccination campaign since the World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed the widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine in October 2021.

The endorsement followed a two-year vaccination programme, which involved more than 800,000 children in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.

Recommended for children from five months of age to around 18 months, the vaccine  has an efficacy of 39 percent.

The first phase of the vaccination in Malawi is expected to cover 11 of the country’s 28 districts.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the WHO in Malawi said the expansion of access to the malaria vaccine will enable more children at risk of malaria to benefit from an additional prevention tool.

“Malawi has expanded access to the first malaria vaccine! The expansion of the RTS,S Malaria vaccine, into the 11 districts that participated in the malaria vaccine implementation program (MVIP) has been launched today. The vaccine offers a glimmer hope for Malawi,” WHO wrote.

Michael Kayange, Malawi’s national malaria control programme manager, told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that although the vaccine has low efficacy, “in malaria control, there is no single intervention that does it all”.

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Health

Nigeria Yet To Attain 70% Covid-19 Vaccination Coverage- NPHCDA

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) has disclosed that Nigeria is yet to achieve 70 percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccination.

Faisal Shuaib, executive director of NPHCDA, said on Tuesday that as of November 25, a total of 56,790,371 eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination are fully vaccinated while 12,492,646 are partially vaccinated in 36 states and the FCT.

“We are 21.6 million eligible persons away from reaching its target of fully vaccinating 70 percent of its eligible population by December 2022,” he said.

“But 62 percent of the country’s eligible population is at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

“The country has fully vaccinated half of the total population eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

“We have also fully vaccinated an additional over 25 percent of its eligible population, in the last 110 days of SCALES 3.0 implementation.”

The executive director said 13.2 percent of fully vaccinated persons in the country have received the COVID-19 booster dose for additional protection against the virus.

He commended the COVID-19 strategy group for achieving 50 percent vaccination coverage in the country and promised that the momentum would be sustained.

Shuaib said he has also directed the team to intensify efforts toward the attainment of herd immunity.

“Until this is achieved, the strategy group will continue to develop strategies that will help the country achieve health security,” he said.

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