One of the main symptoms of coronavirus is the loss of smell in the patients. The coronavirus causes the loss of smell after infection along other symptoms. The researchers were unable to put a finger on the cause of this symptom. However, recently the scientists from Harvard Medical School debunked the mystery behind loss of smell from Covid-19 in patients.
The study published recently in journal Science Advances.
The researchers said that this symptom does not last long. Hence, the patient can regain the sense of smell after the infection eliminates from the body. According to the researchers, the sensory neurons are not affected directly by the coronavirus. The sensory neurons are responsible for detecting a particular smell. These neurons then send the signal to the brain which provides a sense of smell.
The researchers said that the cells associated with the sensory neurons become infected with the coronavirus. These cells are responsible for providing structural support for the sensory neurons. This shows that the loss of smell due to coronavirus is not permanent. Hence, most people can regain their ability to smell after recovering from the infection.
Dr. Sandeep Robert Datta is a neurobiology associate professor and one of the authors of the study. He said that this research is good news for patients who had a loss of smell from Covid-19. The olfactory neurons do not suffer permanent damage due to infection. Hence, there is no need to replace them after the infection clears out from the body.
Coronavirus causes multiple symptoms which indicate the infection. These include fever, flu-like symptoms, cough, and loss of smell. According to this study, the loss of smell is also temporary like other symptoms.
The temporary inability to smell can also lead to a loss of taste in the patient. The senses of taste and smell are interlinked and one effects the other. Hence, most patients also experience an inability to taste during coronavirus infection.
According to the data, most people recover their ability to smell. However, 10% of the Covid-19 patients suffer from a permanent loss of this ability. Dr. Datta said that the loss of smell from Covid-19 severely affects those who have permanent damage.
The inability to smell can lead to a major health problem if the cases keep increasing. This symptom can mentally affect people who go through this permanent inability. The findings of the study suggest that the virus does not damage the neurons in the patient. However, it infects the cells supporting the neurons. This leads to the loss of this sense in coronavirus patients.
Many people feared that they will never regain their sense after the coronavirus infection. Other health experts also believed that this can led to another health crisis with many people losing their ability to smell. It could cause millions of individuals with no ability to smell.
A small Italian study shows that one out of ten patients suffers from this symptom for some time after recovery. This study shows that 50% of the individuals regained their senses after a month of recovery from Covid-19.
The time required to recover depends upon how many cells the coronavirus infects. If the virus is limited to the nose lining, the person regains their sense of smell soon. However, if the infection goes deeper, it can take some time to recover from this symptom.