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Nearly 90% of subjects experiencing COVID-19-related taste or olfactory dysfunction fully recover after 2 years




In a recent article published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeryresearchers investigated the recovery and prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related taste and smell impairments after 2 years across patients with mild symptoms.

Study: Two-year prevalence and recovery of smell or taste alterations in COVID-19 patients with mild symptoms. Image Credit: Marharyta Manukha/Shutterstock
study: Two-year prevalence and recovery of smell or taste alterations in COVID-19 patients with mild symptomsImage Credit: Marharyta Manukha/Shutterstock


Dysfunction of taste and smell was part of the often documented manifestation of mild symptomatic COVID-19 before the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron strains. did. Furthermore, 7% of patients have functional anosmia 1 year after SARS-CoV-2 infection, with frequent and long-lasting impairment of smell and taste. COVID-19 symptomsGiven the high case rate of COVID-19, it is important to determine the long-term persistence of these symptoms.

The authors of this study previously described the frequency of taste or smell changes in COVID-19 patients who had mild symptoms at the onset of infection, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months after infection.

About research

In the current study, researchers analyzed the same group of previously assessed mild COVID-19 patients at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months after onset, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a 2-year rate of recovery and the prevalence of taste or smell disorders.

The team obtained verbal informed consent from study participants via phone interview. Study volunteers were serially evaluated at Treviso General Hospital for SARS by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with a swab test performed according to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations between March 19 and March 22, 2020. – Was an individual aged 18 years or older who tested positive for CoV-2. A person deemed fit to manage a house.

Subjects were evaluated during the acute phase of infection and were contacted again after 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 months, and 2 years. During consecutive interviews, volunteers were analyzed using the same questions from baseline. Symptoms were assessed using structured questionnaires such as the Sino-nasal Outcome Test 22 and the Acute Respiratory Tract Infection Questionnaire. Symptom prevalence was expressed as a percentage of all participants and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were determined using his Clopper-Pearson method. Additionally, statistical analysis was performed using the software R version 3.6.


The study results showed that of 202 SARS-CoV-2 patients who completed the baseline survey, 174, or 86.1%, responded to all follow-up interviews. Three patients were excluded from the study due to documented SARS-CoV-2 reinfection, three were excluded due to late-onset, i.e. >3 months, olfactory or gustatory dysfunction, indicated the possibility of reinfection. Thus, there were 168 or 83.2% eligible subjects with a median age of 55 years her and 20 years to her 89 years, and 90 or 53.6% were female.

Of eligible study volunteers, 108 or 64.3%, 64 or 38.1%, 29 or 17.3%, 27 or 16.1%, and 14 or 8.3% documented changes in smell or taste and had a Sino-nasal Outcome Test 22 score. exceeded zero. Baseline is 4 weeks, 8 weeks, 6 months and 2 years respectively. Alterations in smell and taste were first reported when a swab screen for SARS-CoV-2 infection was still positive after her four-week follow-up of 11 of her patients. .

Of the 119 patients who experienced COVID-19-related olfactory or gustatory disturbances within 4 weeks, 105 or 88.2% reported complete recovery at 2 years, and 11 or 9.2% experienced a decrease in severity. reported that 3 or 2.5% reported their symptoms worsened or remained unchanged. In addition, 13 patients (10.9%) had delayed recovery after he was >6 months from onset.

At 2-year follow-up, fatigue was the most common nonchemosensory complaint, reported by 31 or 18.5% of participants, followed by shortness of breath in 18 or 10.7% of study volunteers. Patients, or 28%, said at least one COVID-19 symptom was still present after two years.


Overall, the study results showed that more than 88% of subjects who experienced COVID-19-related taste or olfactory dysfunction fully recovered after two years. Additionally, approximately 11% of patients experienced delayed recovery.

The current findings are limited by study limitations such as unconfirmed results for olfactory loss, self-reported data from cross-sectional surveys, lack of psychophysical assessment of chemosensory function, small sample size, and severe subject absence. must be interpreted with caution, taking into account Lack of information regarding symptoms, geographic limitations, and potential treatments for chemosensory impairment. However, contrary to frequent reports, the team says SARS-CoV-2 patients should be informed that recovery from impaired smell or taste may last months after onset.

Furthermore, the study data apply to individuals who had SARS-CoV-2 infection before the emergence of the Omicron variant. Indeed, chemosensory functions are less commonly and severely affected by COVID-19 associated with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron strain.




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