COVID-19-Associated Smell, Taste Disturbance Is Declining

Odds ratios for COVID-19-associated smell or taste disturbance significantly reduced, reaching 0.070 during omicron B peak interval

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THURSDAY, June 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- During recent omicron waves, there was a decrease in the rate of COVID-19-associated smell or taste disturbance, according to a study published online May 26 in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

Evan R. Reiter, M.D., from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, and colleagues identified patients with and without smell and taste loss within two weeks of COVID-19 diagnosis by accessing the National COVID Cohort Collaborative database. The rates of chemosensory loss were compared for peak prevalence time intervals for different variants.

The researchers found that compared with rates of chemosensory loss during the peak time interval for "untyped" variants (April 27 to June 18, 2020), the odds ratios decreased for COVID-19-associated smell or taste disturbance for each of the alpha, delta, omicron K, omicron L, omicron C, and omicron B peak intervals (0.744, 0.637, 0.139, 0.079, 0.061, and 0.070, respectively).

"We don't have the data on what's causing this decline in smell loss as a symptom of COVID-19, but I would speculate that this might be related to our increased immunity to the virus, either through vaccines or having an earlier infection, as this typically helps reduce the severity of future infections," Reiter said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text

Elana Gotkine

Elana Gotkine

Published on June 08, 2023

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