The Potential Cause of Long-Term Smell Loss in COVID-19 Patients Discovered
Loss of smell is a common symptom of COVID-19, with many patients experiencing it when they are infected with the virus. However, while most patients recover their sense of smell within a few weeks, some experience it for months or even years. Now, researchers at Duke University Medical Center in the US have discovered a potential cause of the long-term smell.
- Researchers at Duke University Medical Center have discovered a potential cause of long-term smell loss in COVID-19 patients.
- Loss of smell is a common symptom of COVID-19, but while most patients recover their sense of smell within a few weeks, some experience it for months or even years.
- The researchers studied nasal tissue samples from 24 patients, 9 of whom were suffering from long-term smell loss.
- They found that T-cells, a type of white blood cell, were triggering an inflammatory response in the olfactory epithelium, the area at the top of the nasal cavity where nerve cells process smells.
- The inflammation was continuing despite the absence of detectable SARS-CoV-2 virus.
- The researchers believe this ongoing immune response in the nose may be responsible for long-term smell loss and suggest similar mechanisms may be at play for other symptoms of long COVID, such as brain fog, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
- The team is hopeful that modulating the abnormal immune response or repair processes within the nose of these patients could help to restore a sense of smell.