Loss of smell from COVID-19 may be permanent for some, small study suggests

Some long COVID-19 patients still have impaired or loss of smell one year after symptom onset, suggesting the condition could be permanent, according to a small study published Sept. 8 in JAMA Network Open.

Brazilian researchers analyzed the outcomes of 219 adult long COVID-19 patients treated at a rehab center at a public university in the Amazon between Sept. 9, 2020, and Oct. 20, 2021.

About 64 percent of patients reported chronic loss of smell or decreased sense of smell throughout the study period. These individuals experienced long COVID-19 symptoms for an average of 242.7 days, compared to just 221 days for those who maintained their sense of smell. Patients with loss of smell were also more likely to have neurological symptoms for more than six months.

"Our results highlight the need to continue monitoring the rate of recovery of olfactory function among individuals with long COVID to evaluate whether it is a chronic or permanent sequela," researchers said.

Read the full study here.


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