Global Survey Supports Link Between COVID-19 and Loss of Smell and Taste (MBI News)

Global Survey Supports Link Between COVID-19 and Loss of Smell and Taste

A new massive crowdsourced survey of COVID-19 patients from around the world provides the greatest evidence to date of a link between COVID-19 and the loss of smell, taste and chemesthesis — or sensitivity to chemicals such as those in chili peppers. The findings may have implications for prioritizing the limited supply of COVID-19 tests.

Based on entries from 4,039 participants representing more than 40 countries, the initial findings reveal that smell, taste and chemesthesis are significantly reduced in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Importantly, nasal blockage does not appear to be associated with these losses, suggesting that they may be an important way to distinguish COVID-19 infection from other viral infections, such as cold or flu.

Researchers in the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) — including Steven D. Munger, Ph.D., director of UF’s Center for Smell and Taste and member of the GCCR leadership team, and Jeb M. Justice, M.D., co-director of the UF Health Smell Disorders Program —  launched the survey in April 2020 and posted initial results to MedRxiv in May 2020.

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