‘COVID’s toll on smell and taste: what scientists do and don’t know’ – by Nature
Nature posted about researchers are studying the sensory impact of the coronavirus, how long it lasts and what can be done to treat it. This article explaines how many people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell, the reason people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell, how long they lose the sense of smell and about the treatments for restoring the sense of smell.
[from the article]
Researchers are studying the sensory impact of the coronavirus, how long it lasts and what can be done to treat it.
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it emerged that many people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus were losing their sense of smell — even without displaying other symptoms. Researchers also discovered that infected people could lose their sense of taste and their ability to detect chemically triggered sensations such as spiciness, called chemesthesis.
Almost a year later, some still haven’t recovered these senses, and for a proportion of people who have, odours are now warped: unpleasant scents have taken the place of normally delightful ones. Nature surveys the science behind this potentially long-lasting and debilitating phenomenon.
How many people with COVID-19 lose their sense of smell?
The exact percentage varies between studies, but most suggest that smell loss is a common symptom.
One review, published last June1, compiled data from 8,438 people with COVID-19, and found that 41% had reported experiencing smell loss. In another study, published in August2, a team led by researcher Shima T. Moein at the Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences in Tehran, Iran, administered a smell-identification test to 100 people with COVID-19 in which the patients sniffed odours and identified them on a multiple-choice basis. Ninety-six per cent of the participants had some olfactory dysfunction, and 18% had total smell loss (otherwise known as anosmia).
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