Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in the United States have identified a possible cause of loss of smell in people with coronavirus infection.
It is known that loss of smell and taste is one of the symptoms of COVID-19. Moreover, doctors say that some who are ill may never taste or smell.
According to a study published in April in the European Archives of Otorhinolaryngology (European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology), out of 417 European patients who had a mild or moderate form of COVID-19, 88% and 86% reported taste and odor dysfunction, respectively.
Most patients said they could not taste or smell even after other symptoms disappeared.
Preliminary data showed that at least a quarter of people regained their ability to taste and smell within two weeks after the disappearance of other symptoms. The study says that long-term data is needed to assess how long this condition can last in people who have not reported improvement.
Why could this be? One of the theories of researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center is that olfactory receptors, which, in essence, “look like the way to the brain, commit suicide and therefore cannot transmit the virus to the brain.” According to the deputy director of the center, this may be a healthy response to the virus – something like a way of protection.