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Is loss of taste and smell a Coronavirus symptom?

Credit: Creative Commons

Several studies are pointing to the possibility that the sudden loss of the senses of taste and smell are important symptoms of infection with the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Nearly 90% of patients surveyed in a study coordinated by the University of Mons presented these disorders. The symptoms have been found in a large number of infected patients in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, England and the United States, according to the university.

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The study was conducted by 33 ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctors and researchers in 12 European hospitals on 417 patients presenting a non-severe form of Covid-19 infection, and was coordinated by Professors Jérôme Lechien and Sven Saussez, ENT doctors and researchers at UMons.

A UK study from King’s College London is pointing in the same direction. Data analysed from the COVID Symptom Tracker app – developed by researchers at King’s College London – also suggests that the loss of taste and smell may be a sign of the virus. “Using all the data collected, the King’s research team behind the app, alongside ZOE data scientists, developed a model to identify which combination of symptoms together could predict COVID-19 cases. The model features a combination of loss of smell and taste, fever, persistent cough, fatigue, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, in which the strongest predictor is loss of smell and taste,” King’s College said.

“When combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be 3 times more likely to have contracted COVID-19 according to our data,” said lead researcher Professor Tim Spector.

In addition to these studies, the assertion that the loss of taste and smell are indeed symptoms of coronavirus is being supported by ENT UK (the British association of ENT specialists).

The researchers at UMons are calling for the loss of smell and taste to be added to the World Health Organisation’s list of coronavirus symptoms.

The Brussels Times

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