Why COVID-19 Makes People Lose Their Sense of Smell – by Scientific American
One morning a few weeks ago I was chatting with my friend Horacio, a mathematician in the New York City area. He told me he’d lost his sense of smell for a couple of weeks in April.
He was cooking for Passover and couldn’t even smell the gefilte fish. He didn’t think much of it and didn’t connect it to the fact that he had been slightly ill for a few days. I suggested that he get tested for antibodies of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; and that he take an online survey for smell and taste symptoms associated with recent respiratory illness (more on that shortly). It turned out Horacio had antibodies, so he signed up to donate plasma. This was a lucky diagnosis aided by timing and geography; smell and taste symptoms associated specifically with COVID-19 seem to appear as sudden hyposmia or anosmia (decrease or loss of smell), but just because you can’t smell doesn’t mean you have the virus.
In some people, anosmia is the first or an early symptom, and for some the only symptom, of COVID-19. It is therefore tempting to look to anosmia as diagnostic. Indeed, right now, with the novel coronavirus raging across the country and world, a sudden loss of smell, especially in a city with large infection rates, is more likely associated with COVID-19 than anything else. Olfactory dysfunction is now listed as one of the key symptoms of the disease, and physicians are offered guidance for testing olfactory function.
Read the full article from Scientific American
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