One of the many mysteries of COVID-19 may eventually be solved.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School say they have found why some people infected with coronaviruses lose their sense of smell.
The symptom, called “anosmia” by doctors, is one of the earliest and most commonly reported indicators of the virus.
Some studies suggest that there may in fact be a better way of predicting whether the disease is there than other well-known symptoms such as fever and cough.
But, by now, scientists were rightly amazed at how some patients were being robbed of their senses.
Researchers better understand how odor is altered in coronovirus patients, the cell type most sensitive to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Through his analysis of various datasets, he found that it attacks cells that support olfactory sensory neurons, which detect and transmit the sense of smell in the brain.
Sandeep Robert Dutta, a neurobiology professor at Harvard Medical School and co-author on the paper, said, “Our findings suggest that the sense of smell in novel coronavirus viruses does not directly affect neurons, but rather the function of helper cells.” . “
This means that the virus is unlikely to cause permanent damage to the olfactory neural circuit, meaning that patients can recover their sense of smell, the scientists said.
“I think this is good news, because once the infection clears up, there is no need to replace or reconstruct the olfactory neurons from scratch,” Dutta said in a statement.
But, he said, “we need more data and a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms to confirm this conclusion.”
His study was published in the peer-review journal “Science Advance” on Friday.