By Cara Murez
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 not the case, because of the brand new variants which were circulating extra not too long ago.
The chance of dropping sense of style or odor is now solely about 6% to 7% of what it was throughout the pandemic’s early levels, based on researchers at Virginia Commonwealth College (VCU) Faculty of Medication in Richmond, Va.
“Initially of the pandemic, odor and style loss have been thought of widespread signs of COVID-19. Earlier than viral checks have 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,” stated examine creator Dr. Evan Reiter, who’s the medical director of VCU Well being’s Scent and Style Issues Middle.
For the examine, the researchers used a nationwide database of greater than 7 million sufferers who examined optimistic for COVID-19, calculating the prevalence of odor and style loss as a symptom of the virus throughout peak durations 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, have 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 chance of odor loss from an infection was as little as 6% in contrast with 2020 charges.
“This information reveals that odor and style loss is not a dependable indicator of COVID‐19 an infection,” Reiter stated. “This implies which you could’t rule out COVID-19 in case you are feeling sick however haven’t misplaced your sense of odor. This additionally signifies that if in case you have misplaced your sense of odor, it’s not a assure that it’s from a COVID-19 an infection.”
The findings have been printed not too long ago 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 might 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 stated 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 utterly 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 bother sustaining a nutritious diet as a result of there are such a lot of meals which can be displeasing to them,” Reiter defined. “Fortunately, there’s numerous work being accomplished in hopes of discovering an efficient therapy for these affected by this situation.”
Funding for the examine was offered by the MEDARVA Basis. A group that offered information for the examine was partially funded by the U.S. Nationwide Institutes of Well being’s Scientific and Translational Science Award.
The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention has extra on COVID-19 signs.
SOURCE: Virginia Commonwealth College, information launch, June 5, 2023