Scientists and researchers know considerably little about how the coronavirus disease causes persistent anosmia – a diminished sense of smell – or how to cure it.
Often accompanied by an inability to taste, anosmia occurs abruptly and dramatically in those infected, almost as if a switch had been flipped in the body. But cases are piling up as COVID-19 sweeps across the world, and some experts fear that the pandemic may leave huge numbers of people with a permanent loss of smell and taste.
The prospect has set off an urgent scramble among researchers to learn more about why patients are losing these essential senses, and how to help them recover.
Dr. Dolores Malaspina, professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, genetics and genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York said, “Many people have been doing olfactory research for decades and getting little attention. COVID is just turning that field upside down.”