Does vaping and smoking e-cigarettes put you at higher risk of COVID-19 complications?

UWindsor’s Drew Marquardt is trying to answer that question with research into how the toxicants in the oils of vapes and e-cigarettes affect lung function.

“What we’re trying to find out is how does this connect to complications if you catch COVID-19,” Dr. Marquardt said.

It’s believed there is a link between vitamin E acetate — a modified form of vitamin E found in vaping oils and e-cigarettes — and the lung injury found in people who use those products. A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine focusses on the presence of vitamin E acetate in the lungs of people with EVALI, short for electronic-cigarette/vaping-associated lung injury.

With the help of fellow UWindsor chemist James Gauld and researcher Charu Chandrasekera, head of the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Animal Methods, Marquardt will study how vitamin E acetate interacts with the pulmonary surfactant — the liquid lining the alveoli in the lungs. He will develop models and send samples to a national laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where scientists will test the surface tension of the pulmonary surfactant using small-angle neutron scattering.

“We want to find out how the vitamin E acetate disrupts the mechanical properties of the pulmonary surfactant in the model system,” Marquardt said. Using a 3D-bioprinted human lung tissue model, the team will then determine how lung injury induced by vitamin E acetate influences the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read full article here.

Sarah Sacheli – University of Windsor Daily News – May 25, 2020.

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