Chennai: A survey-based study of 202 patients, which researched loss of smell and taste for Covid-19 patients, has found that in nearly half of the patients the symptom may disappear within four weeks.
The survey was conducted by researchers including those from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals in the UK. Out of the 202 patients, women represented 103 patients, and the average age was 56 years.
They found that four weeks since they observed an altered sense of smell or taste, 55 patients reported complete resolution of this symptom.
Published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, the study states 46 of the 202 patients reported an improvement in the severity within a month, and only 12 reported the symptom was unchanged or worse.
Researcherrs said persistent loss of smell or taste was not associated with persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection.
They said smell and taste dysfunction in COVID-19 might be a consequence of nasal obstruction, or may reflect a direct effect on olfactory mucosa and the olfactory sensory neurons, subsequently leading to the symptom.
According to the researchers, thhis latter mechanism is supported by the observation that most patients did not report nasal obstruction, and in those who did, the recovery of altered sense of smell or taste was independent from improvement in blocked nose.
Although alteration of the sense of smell or taste improved in most cases during the course of the disease, the researchers said these symptoms were still the most frequently reported by Covid-19 patients four weeks after testing.
“The loss of smell or taste is among the most common and persistent symptoms of mildly symptomatic patients with Covid-19, however, most patients reported a complete resolution or improvement of these symptoms.”
The researchers said further follow-up studies will be needed to determine if the 10.6 per cent of patients who had not experienced any improvement, and the 40.7 per cent people with incomplete recovery will experience future improvement.