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Study Reveals New Coronavirus Symptoms


A new study has revealed that total or partial loss of smell may indicate that a person will experience a milder case of the Coronavirus.

The research, published in the International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology, may help clinicians identify which COVID-19 patient require hospitalisation and which may be able to self-treat the disease at home.

Someone who develops a severe case of COVID-19 will likely require admission at a hospital. If their condition continues to deteriorate, they may need to move to a critical care unit with access to a ventilator.

The research said one of the recognised symptoms of COVID-19 is the partial or total loss of the ability to smell.

Dr Michael Xydakis of the Department of Defense, United States Air Force Medical Services Corp, and his colleagues, in a correspondence piece in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, said it is not yet clear why or how COVID-19 causes someone to lose their smell.

“However, their initial observations suggest that loss of smell “manifests either early in the disease process or in patients with mild or no constitutional symptoms.”

The researchers wanted to explore further how the loss of smell as a COVID-19 symptom relates to the severity of the disease.

If it is possible to confirm that people who experience loss of smell as an early symptom are less likely to develop a severe infection, hospitals may be able to ease the pressure on their resources by sending these individuals home to self-care.

To conduct the study, the authors looked at data from 169 people who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Of these people, 128 had data relating to their ability to smell or taste, so the team included these individuals in the final study group.

They found that the people who required hospitalisation because of COVID-19 were far less likely to report that they had loss of smell or taste than those who did not need to stay in the hospital.

According to senior author of the article, Dr Adam DeConde, a physician in the department of surgery at the University of California San Diego Health, “patients who reported loss of smell were 10 times less likely to be admitted for COVID-19 compared to those without loss of smell.

“Moreover, anosmia (loss of smell) was not associated with any other measures typically related to the decision to admit, suggesting that it’s truly an independent factor and may serve as a marker for milder manifestations of COVID-19.”

Dr. DeConde speculates that loss of smell may indicate that the severity of the virus depends on both where it infects a person and how much is able to enter their body.

“The site and dosage of the initial viral burden, along with the effectiveness of the host immune response, are all potentially important variables in determining the spread of the virus within a person and, ultimately, the clinical course of the infection.”

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