Scientists have found that the majority of COVID-19 patients who present with symptoms of an altered sense of smell or taste recover within four weeks.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery evaluated the evolution of the loss of sense of smell and taste in a series of mildly symptomatic patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The study included 202 mildly symptomatic adults (≥18 years) consecutively assessed at Treviso Regional Hospital, Italy, between March 19 and March 22, 2020, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal and throat swabs.
The researchers found that of 202 patients, 48.7 per cent of patients reported complete resolution of smell or taste impairment, 40.7 per cent reported an improvement in the severity and only 10.6 per cent reported the symptom was unchanged or worse.
The researchers led by Paolo Boscolo-Rizzo stated that persistent loss of smell or taste was not associated with persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Meanwhile, a senior epidemiologist at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, Dr. Abiodu Egwuenu has said that loss of taste and the smell is a symptom of COVID-19 and could also be for some other illnesses.
“It is important to get tested rather than self-medicate on the assumption that it is malaria,” she said.
According to the researchers “Of 202 patients completing the survey at baseline, 187 (92.6 per cent) also completed the follow-up survey (103 [55.1 per cent] women; median age, 56 years).
“The evaluation of the evolution of the altered sense of smell or taste in the 113 patients reporting the sudden onset of these symptoms at baseline showed that 55 patients (48.7 per cent; 95 per cent CI, 39.2-58.3) reported complete resolution of smell or taste impairment.
“46 (40.7 per cent; 95 per cent CI, 31.6-50.4) reported an improvement in the severity, and only 12 (10.6 per cent; 95 per cent CI, 5.6-17.8) reported the symptom was unchanged or worse.
“Persistent loss of smell or taste was not associated with persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection,” they said.