People who experience loss of smell as one of the COVID-19 symptoms that are likely to have a mild to the moderate clinical course of the disease, according to a study that may help health care providers determine which patients require hospitalization.
The findings, published in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, follow a previous study that confirmed coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 loss of odor, and taste as indicators of a novel infection.
According to the University of California (UC) San Diego Health Scientists, patients who reported a decrease in odor were 10 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 compared with asymptomatic ones.
“One of the immediate challenges for health care providers is to determine how best to treat coronavirus novel infected individuals,” said Carol Yan, the first author of the current study and a rhinologist from UC San Diego Health.
“If they show no or no symptoms, can they return home for self-incarceration or do they need a hospital? These are key questions for hospitals trying to allocate limited medical resources effectively and efficiently,” Yan said.
According to the findings, the mild clinical course of COVID-19 may be predicted by odor loss.
“What is noteworthy in the new results is that the loss of smell is an ordeal that the SARS-CoV-2 infection is not so severe and is less likely to be hospitalized,” Yan said.
“If an infected person loses that feeling, they are more likely to experience mild symptoms, excluding other risk factors,” she said.
The risk factors for COVID-19 reported in other studies in the past are age and medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, severe heart conditions, diabetes, and esophageal cancer.
In the current study, scientists reconsidered analysis between March 3 and April 8, including 169 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 at UC San Diego Health.
They evaluated olfactory and gastrointestinal data for 128 of the 169 patients, 26 of whom required hospitalization.
According to the researchers, patients hospitalized for COVID-19 treatment are less likely to report anosmia or loss of odor – 26.9 percent, compared to 66.7 percent for COVID-19-infected people.
A similar percentage was found to cause loss of taste, known as dysgeusia, they said.
“Patients who reported having a 10-fold lower odor of entry on COVID-19 compared with odor-free patients,” said study co-author Adam S. Greer. DeConde said.
“Moreover, anosmia is generally not associated with other measures of decision-making, indicating that it is indeed an independent factor and may serve as a marker for mild expressions of Covid-19,” says DeConde.
Researchers suspect some of the physical symptoms of the infection have been discovered.
“The site and dose of the initial viral burden, along with the impact of the host immune response, are important variables in determining the spread of the virus in an individual and, ultimately, the clinical course of infection,” says DeConde.
If the SARS-CoV-2 virus is initially concentrated in the nose and upper airway, it can affect olfactory function, leading to an infection that is less severe and spontaneous, reducing the risk of host immune response, respiratory failure. , And hospitalization, scientists added.
“This is a hypothesis, but it is similar to the concept underlying direct vaccines,” DeConde explained.
“At low doses and in the distant location of vaccination, the host produces an immune response without serious infection,” he says.
The loss of smell, according to the study, also indicates a strong immune response localized to nasal passages, limiting effects elsewhere in the body.
Citing the study’s limitations, the scientists said they relied on self-reporting of anosmia from the participants, which is likely to recall bias in patients after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Patients with more severe respiratory diseases that require hospitalization may not be able to detect or recall the loss of smell, they said.
Researchers said more extensive studies are needed to confirm the results.