Chennai: There was a buzz after reports claimed that a recent survey conducted by CSIR (Council of Scientific Industrial Research), Government of India, had revealed that smokers and vegetarians are less likely to contract Covid-19 infection.
Quoting the ‘survey’, media reports suggested smoking may be protective, despite Covid-19 being a respiratory disease, due to its role in increasing the mucous production that may be acting as the first line of defense among the smoking population.
Following this, CSIR said, ‘It is here by brought to attention CSIR has NOT ISSUED a Press Note titled ‘CSIR Study Reveals Smokers and Vegetarians are Less Vulnerable to Covid-19 Infection.
CSIR would like to highlight that as mentioned in the peer reviewed publication that ‘It has been proposed that a fibre-rich diet may play an important role in COVID-19 through anti-inflammatory properties by modification of gut microbiota. A recent review has highlighted the role of trace elements, nutraceuticals and probiotics in Covid-19. The negative association with smoking has been reported elsewhere, but not shown to be causal. Further exploration is necessary before reaching any conclusions, especially since seropositivity is an imperfect marker of infection-risk and may equally well be explained by altered antibody response and dynamics.’
It added: ‘In studies such as these, associations with any of the parameters should not considered be causal until proven experimentally. Hence, CSIR would like to state that NO conclusion can be drawn that the vegetarian diet and smoking may protect from Covid-19 based on these studies.’