By Cara Murez 

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 7, 2023 (HealthDay Information) — One of many signature signs of COVID-19 an infection within the early months of the pandemic was a lack of the sense of odor.

Now, new analysis finds that’s now not the case, due to the brand new variants which have been circulating extra just lately.

The danger of dropping sense of style or odor is now solely about 6% to 7% of what it was in the course of the pandemic’s early levels, in line with researchers at Virginia Commonwealth College (VCU) College of Drugs in Richmond, Va.

“Firstly of the pandemic, odor and style loss had been thought-about frequent signs of COVID-19. Earlier than viral assessments had been readily accessible, we relied much more on such signs to diagnose these contaminated. Nonetheless, as completely different variants of the COVID-19 virus have emerged, the varieties of signs mostly skilled modified as nicely,” mentioned research writer Dr. Evan Reiter, who’s the medical director of VCU Well being’s Scent and Style Issues Middle.

For the research, the researchers used a nationwide database of greater than 7 million sufferers who examined constructive for COVID-19, calculating the prevalence of odor and style loss as a symptom of the virus throughout peak intervals of an infection for every variant wave.

The group discovered that the dangers of odor loss from a COVID-19 an infection for Alpha and Delta, each pervasive variants in 2021, had been solely 74% and 64% of what was noticed within the early levels of the pandemic.

They noticed even steeper declines in lack of odor in 2022 and early 2023, as Omicron variants dominated. The danger of odor loss from an infection was as little as 6% in contrast with 2020 charges.

“This knowledge exhibits that odor and style loss is now not a dependable indicator of COVID‐19 an infection,” Reiter mentioned. “This implies which you can’t rule out COVID-19 if you’re feeling sick however haven’t misplaced your sense of odor. This additionally implies that you probably have misplaced your sense of odor, it’s not a assure that it’s from a COVID-19 an infection.”

The findings had been printed just lately within the journal Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgical procedure.

Researchers don’t know why fewer folks at the moment are dropping their sense of odor with an infection, however increased immunity to the virus may very well be an element.

“We don’t have the info on what’s inflicting this decline in odor loss as a symptom of COVID-19, however I’d speculate that this is perhaps associated to our elevated immunity to the virus, both by means of vaccines or having an earlier an infection, as this sometimes helps scale back the severity of future infections,” Reiter mentioned in a college information launch.

“Whereas the chance of odor loss is much much less prevalent than the preliminary waves of COVID-19, we’re nonetheless seeing sufferers who’ve both fully misplaced or have a distorted sense of odor, which might take a major toll on their high quality of life. There are a good variety of sufferers who’ve hassle sustaining a nutritious diet as a result of there are such a lot of meals which are displeasing to them,” Reiter defined. “Fortunately, there may be loads of work being finished in hopes of discovering an efficient therapy for these affected by this situation.”

Funding for the research was supplied by the MEDARVA Basis. A group that supplied knowledge for the research was partially funded by the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being’s Medical and Translational Science Award.

Extra data

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra on COVID-19 signs.


SOURCE: Virginia Commonwealth College, information launch, June 5, 2023

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