ABBOTTABAD: Smokers are more vulnerable to coronavirus than non-smokers as regular smoking damages defence cells in the respiratory tract, said a medical researcher here on Thursday.

Dr Ayub Jadoon,assistant professor of immunology and microbiology inAbbottabad University of Science and Technology, told reporters about his research on the matter and said chemicals such as nicotine were highly toxic to the cilia.

“Cilia actually are hair-like substances present as projections of the surface cells in the respiratory tract. These cells have the ACE2 receptors for Sars and Covid-19. The cilia and mucous do not allow the virus to bind to its receptors. If the virus binds to its receptors, then it enters cells and produces hundreds more if not thousands,” he said.

Dr Jadoon said the newly-produced viruses later captured and entered the neighbouring cells, where further exponential growth of the virus occurred.

“This leads to the destruction of these cells followed by inflammation. This also leads to the beginning of the disease which is reflected by the high rise of the temperature, sore throat, fatigue and aches,” he said.

The researcher said due to the movement of cilia, the virus and all other harmful substances were pushed out and cleared from the respiratory tract.

He added that specialized cells in the respiratory tract produced mucous as well, which was a sticky substance.

TWO DROWN: Two tourists drowned in a waterfall in Sajikot area near Havelian tehsil on Thursday.

The police said the deceased, including Talha Shafqat of Chakwal and Mohammad Usman of Jhang, swam under the waterfall despite a ban.

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2020