The new study published is the first to compare how people diagnosed with COVID-19 odor and taste disorders differ from those who have other causes of upper respiratory infection.
The main differences that were found according to the study “Medcal” are that although COVID-19 patients also lose their sense of smell, they can breathe freely, do not tend to have a runny or stuffy nose, and cannot detect the bitter or sweet taste.
The difference of smell in Corona from the common cold
These results lend weight to the theory that COVID-19 infects the brain and central nervous system.
The research team hopes that their work will aid the development of smell and taste tests for rapid COVID-19 screening – in primary care and emergency departments.
Lead researcher Professor Karl Philpot, from Norwich School of Medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: “Loss of smell and taste is a prominent symptom of COVID-19, but it is also a common symptom of catching a cold, so we wanted to know what exactly characterizes the loss of the smell of COVID- 19 about the type of loss of smell you may have with a cold and stuffy nose. ”
The research team conducted smell and taste tests on 10 patients with COVID-19, 10 people with severe colds, and a control group of 10 healthy people – all matched by age and gender.
The team found that the smell loss was more profound in cases of COVID-19, as they were less able to recognize smells, and were not able to identify the bitter or sweet taste. In fact, it was the loss of true taste that seemed to be present in the COVID-19 patients compared to the common cold patients.
This means, the researchers concluded, that smell and taste tests can be used to distinguish between COVID-19 patients and those with the common cold or flu.
According to the author of the study, 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, in Emergency departments or at airports.
This research also shows, that there are completely different things that happen when it comes to losing the sense of smell and taste in COVID-10 patients, compared to patients with colds, because the COVID-19 virus affects the central nervous system, based on the neurological signs that some patients have developed, it may enter The brain, possibly via the smell receptors in the nose.
According to the researchers, more research is needed to find out whether genetic variation in people’s bitter and sweet taste receptors might predispose them to developing COVID-19, or vice versa, whether COVID-19 infection alters the way these receptors work, either directly or Through a cell storm – the reaction of the body’s immune system. ”