Doctors have been wondering about this for a long time.  Getting close to knowing the answer

A study published in Nature Genetics sheds new light on our understanding of loss of taste and smell caused by COVID-19. This is a serious problem because it is estimated that In the United States alone, up to 1.6 million people six months after contracting COVID-19 He still has problems with these senses.

The exact cause of the loss of smell and taste due to SARS-CoV-2 infection is unknown, but it is likely to be related to olfactory epithelium damage The part of the lining of the nasal cavity where the first (olfactory) nerve fibers that receive olfactory stimuli are located.

– How it happens that as a result of SARS-CoV-2 infection we lose smell is still not clear. Early data indicate that the supporting cells of the olfactory epithelium are the most affected by the virus, which leads to the death of the neurons themselves. But we don’t really know why or when this happens. We also don’t know why some people experience such complications, and others don’t. Justin Turner, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Vanderbilt University.

A team of scientists from 23andMeThe genomics and biotechnology company analyzed data from nearly 70,000 people who took part in online surveys after testing positive for COVID-19. 68 percent reported a loss of smell or taste as a symptom.

The researchers compared the genetic differences between those who had lost their sense of smell and taste and those who had not. It turns out that the location near two olfactory genes – UGT2A1 i UGT2A2 It is the cause of loss of sense of smell and taste associated with COVID-19. This genetic risk factor makes a person with COVID-19 more likely to lose the sense of smell or taste by 11%. Larger.

Moreover, it was also found that this in women by 11 per cent. More often than men There was a loss of smell and taste as a result of the COVID-19 virus. As much as 73 percent. Subjects who reported loss of smell and taste in the figure ranged from 26 to 35 years old.

It is not known exactly how the genes are involved in the loss of smell and taste, although it is suspected that this is caused by infected cells. The new findings could help with future COVID-19 treatments. Other studies have found that loss of taste and smell is linked to a “failure to protect the sensory cells of the nose and tongue from viral infection.”

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