Among more than 20,000 global research studies about the impact of coronavirus on smokers and those suffering from pulmonary diseases; the World Health Organization (WHO) chose a research paper of Saudi students in the United Kingdom.
WHO relied on the outcome of the research in three scientific reports. In addition to the guide and advanced guidelines of 2020 that serve health practitioners in the fight against the pandemic.
Dr. Jaber Al-Qahtani, leader of the Saudi research team, said that the Saudi researchers who are pursuing their Ph.D. studies in British universities; participated along with a group of British specialists in various disciplines in carrying out studies about the prevalence, severity and deaths associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and smoking among COVID-19 patients.
"This was significant while taking into account of the fact that there were not any previous scientific studies that identify the potential risks of exacerbation of conditions and deaths caused by coronavirus in COPD patients and smokers," he said. He also refered to a systematic review based on scientific evidence addresses the knowledge gap; with the aim of helping physicians evaluate the diagnosis of coronavirus infection in COPD patients and smokers.
Al-Qahtani said that the systematic review of the study was according to the preferred scientific methods in systematic reviews and descriptive analyzes, with recording the study in the famous PROSPERO international prospective site to document the scientific method of systematic review of protocols, studies and researches in database and use as a comprehensive search strategy.
The researchers also worked on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics and features of coronavirus in COPD patients and smokers, and combined digital data from several studies consistent with the selection process for evaluation to obtain the general effect. He explained that they examined 123 studies with fully reviewing 61 of which. 15 studies which met the selection criteria in the evaluation of 2473 patients, were picked.
Dr. Al-Qahtani said that among these cases, death rate was 7.4 percent. The combined prevalence of infected respiratory patients ranged between one percent and three percent. While the combined prevalence of smokers with coronavirus ranged between four percent and 14 percent. He revealed that COPD patients are most likely to develop more serious diseases; in comparison to non-COPD patients, with a high risk of doubling the disease with COVID-19. There is also a high death rate for these patients.
The results showed that 22 percent of current smokers and 46 percent of previous smokers had severe complications. The study also indicated that the current smokers are more likely to have complications compared to previous smokers and non-smokers. The death rate is high in current smokers by 38 percent, as the study revealed.