Loss of the sense of taste and smell is a common symptom of “Covid-19”, and it is a symptom that people with colds or flu can also suffer from.
But a small study published on Tuesday, August 18, describes the main differences between the loss of sense of taste and smell that results from each of these viruses, and sheds light on how and why these symptoms may appear in cases of “Covid-19”.
The team of European researchers, who studied the data of “Covid-19” patients, explains that the smell loss that can accompany the Corona virus is unique and different from that experienced by a person with a cold or influenza.
More specifically, researchers confirm that the Corona virus, unlike other common respiratory infections, affects the brain and nervous system.
“There are completely different things that happen when it comes to losing the sense of smell and taste in patients with Covid-19, compared to those with a bad cold,” said Carl Philpott, principal investigator and professor at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, in a press release.
He added, “This means that smell and taste tests can be used to distinguish between Covid-19 patients and people with colds or common flu.”
The study provides more evidence that the Corona virus affects the nervous system. Between 34% and 98% of hospitalized patients with “Covid-19” will suffer from a loss of smell.
Patients will experience these symptoms for more than 30 days, and some may never regain their sense.
And when Covid-19 patients suffer from a loss of smell, they tend to have a sudden and severe symptom.
They usually do not have a stuffy or runny nose, and most people with coronavirus can still breathe freely.
The researchers found that the smell loss was “more profound” among those infected with the Coronavirus, as they were less able to recognize smells than cold patients.
Covid-19 patients’ sense of taste has seriously decreased, as they were unable to recognize sweet or bitter flavors using “taste strips” that interact with different areas of the tongue.
This was not the case for people suffering from the common cold.
And when you have a cold, smelling and taste is often difficult because your nose is blocked and the airways are blocked. But with “Covid-19”, the symptoms seem to stem from the way the disease invades the brain and nervous system because the virus does not tend to cause a blocked nose, the researchers believe.
Other research has also shown that the coronavirus can have severe neurological consequences that extend beyond the olfactory system.
One study found that a short-term loss of smell may result from “slit syndrome,” a condition in which soft tissues and mucus prevent odors from reaching olfactory nerve cells.
The researchers found that some coronavirus patients developed brain swelling and delirium, while others developed nervous system disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome that can cause paralysis. Strokes have also been observed as a result of “Covid-19”.
The new research may help doctors differentiate between the Corona virus and the common cold.
The new study found that by giving patients relatively simple and standardized tests for taste and smell, it can be very easy to distinguish between those with “Covid-19” and those suffering from other respiratory diseases.
“Although such tests cannot replace formal diagnostic tools such as throat swabs, they can provide an alternative when traditional tests are not available or when rapid screening is needed, particularly at the primary care level,” Philpott said. Emergency departments, or at airports. ”
Ultimately, more research is needed, including studies that rely on brain scans, to help understand how the coronavirus affects the senses, the researchers added.
Philpott pointed out that additional investigations could also clarify “whether the genetic variation in the receptors of bitter and sweet taste in people may qualify them for infection with Covid-19, or on the contrary, and whether Covid-19 infection changes how these receptors work.”
Source: Business Insider