It’s designed to stop wrinkles in middle age, but Botox can also protect people from getting Covid, according to a French study.
Researchers said that of the nearly 200 patients who received the treatment until July last year, only two had signs of being sick.
By comparison, they suggested that 4.4 percent of the French population was already infected with the virus.
But experts described the study as “extremely bad” and claimed it proved nothing about whether Botox had any promise in the fight against Covid.
More than a million Britons get Botox injections every year, and the procedure is even more common in the US.
French scientists have suggested that botox could stop a Covid infection. But experts in England have said their research was “extremely bad.” Stock photo
The toxin, one of the most dangerous known to science, helps reduce wrinkles because it relaxes the muscles in the forehead.
But it is also used for medical reasons and given to patients suffering from migraines and involuntary muscle contractions to help ease the symptoms.
The study involved approximately 193 patients, three quarters of whom were women (146). They were on average in their fifties.
They had all received Botox for medical conditions, the Montpellier University Hospital team revealed.
How can botox fight SARS-CoV-2?
Some researchers have argued that botox could potentially stop a Covid infection.
But there is still no concrete evidence that the treatment can stop a viral infection.
French scientists said that when Botox is administered, it binds to a chemical — acetylcholine — which allows muscles to contract.
They claim this could also stop Covid cases, as the virus is believed to use the receptors this chemical binds to to invade cells.
They pointed to other scientific papers suggesting nicotine blocks this receptor to support their theory.
Previous research had suggested that smokers were less likely to get severe Covid if they were infected.
The French researchers admit that more research is needed to determine how Botox could potentially stop infection with the virus.
All volunteers were followed for three months after they received the injections to see if they had contracted the virus.
None of the participants ever tested positive for Covid, although there were two suspected cases.
A 53-year-old woman developed tell-tale symptoms after returning from a trip to Las Vegas, but she tested negative. A 70-year-old woman also became ill, but she was never tested.
Neither patient was hospitalized, experts wrote in the Journal of Stomatology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.
The team said: ‘Our results show a significant difference between the number of people infected in the general population and the number of patients injected with Botox who showed signs of Covid.’
They admitted that the region where the patients were picked was ‘not one of the hardest hit’ areas in France, ‘on the contrary’.
To suggest that Botox may be thwarting Covid, the team pointed to a 64-year-old woman from Lozere in southern France who was receiving the treatment. They claimed she had not contracted the virus, despite it infecting everyone else in her village.
They also pointed to a 46-year-old woman who did not contract Covid after her daughter tested positive for the virus. They do not say how old the daughter was or whether they lived together.
Botulinum toxin works by stopping the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which paralyzes the muscles.
dr. Dominique Batifol, lead author of the study, and other contributors to the paper suggested that this could stop a Covid infection.
They pointed to other papers that have suggested that nicotine blocks the receptor to which acetylcholine binds to support their theory.
Previous research had suggested smokers were less likely to get severe Covid if they were infected, but the evidence on this has since been mixed.
The team admitted that more research was needed to determine how Botox can stop a Covid infection.
Professor Willem van Schaik, director of the Institute for Microbiology and Infection at the University of Birmingham, criticized the research.
He told MailOnline: ‘This paper cannot be used as evidence, even weak evidence, that Botox can protect against Covid.
‘The gold standard for determining whether a treatment is effective in treating or preventing Covid is to conduct a randomized clinical trial in which you compare the treatment with a placebo. This article does not describe such a thing.’
Professor van Schaik added: ‘The rest of the article doesn’t give much in terms of a mechanistic explanation of Botox on infection by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid) and is highly speculative.’
He said on Twitter: “Extremely bad articles about Covid are still published in peer-reviewed journals.”