The latest scientific study has provided an answer to the question of why the sense of smell disappears with COVID-19.
As it turned out, the decrease in the number of olfactory nerve cells is to blame. For a long time, the virus attacks the immune system and provokes an inflammatory process that remains even after recovery. This is stated in the report of scientists from Duke University on the results of a study published in Science Translational Medicine.
According to the researchers, temporary loss of smell with COVID-19 is one of the main symptoms. After some time, patients again begin to distinguish smells, but … not all. For some, this symptom persists for a long period, while others cannot fully restore their sense of smell.
Analyzing samples of the olfactory epithelium of 24 biopsies, the scientists paid special attention to the materials of nine patients who were deprived of their sense of smell for a long period after COVID-19. They found that, despite the absence of the virus in the body, the inflammation process remained in the samples, and the number of sensory neurons was significantly reduced. Noting the success of the study, writes ScienceDailyMD Bradley Goldstein stated:
“The findings are impressive. It almost looks like some kind of autoimmune process in the nose. Neurons probably retain some ability to recover even after a prolonged immune attack. We hope that modeling the abnormal immune response or recovery processes in the nose of these patients can help, at least in part , restore the sense of smell”.
The professor noted that the results of scientific work can become a source of additional research on other symptoms of long-term COVID-19, which demonstrate similar inflammatory processes.