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Global Times

Some COVID-19 patients found to have lost sense of smell, taste

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/29 12:13:42

Some Chinese COVID-19 patients from Beijing's recent coronavirus outbreak were found to have lost or partially lost their sense of smell and taste, leaving many wondering whether they could ever regain these senses.

Medical experts assured patients that most of them will regain their sense of smell and taste gradually after recovering from coronavirus, adding that COVID-19 patients during the Wuhan outbreak were also found to have these symptoms, according to the Sichuan-based Red Star News.

Wu Guoan, deputy director of Beijing Ditan Hospital, the designated hospital for Beijing's COVID-19 patients, said at a press conference last week that most coronavirus patients in Beijing developed typical symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat and diarrhea, but there were also 33 patients who detected a change in their sense of smell, and 21 in their sense of taste. However, these changes were seldom mentioned during the Wuhan outbreak.

Wang Guiqiang, a doctor from Peking University First Hospital, said that many coronavirus patients in Wuhan also experienced a deterioration in their sense of smell and taste, but such mild symptoms were usually overlooked as most patients were also suffering from critical symptoms like high fever and breathing difficulty.

About 10 percent of COVID-19 patients in the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University had lost their sense of smell and taste, Sheng Jifang, a doctor at the hospital, said.

Wang said that patients should not worry about losing their sense of smell and taste, as most of them could gradually recover these senses if it was the result of respiratory infections caused by coronavirus.

As for concerns that the loss of smell and taste could be the consequences of COVID-19 treatment, Sheng said that there was no evidence of nerve damage through treatment or medication.

However, as COVID-19 shares many similarities with severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in both gene sequencing and symptoms, such as serious lung injury and pleural effusion, and 36 percent of SARS patients developed pulmonary fibrosis, some are worried that pulmonary fibrosis could result from having COVID-19.

In response, Zhong Nanshan, a Chinese top respiratory diseases expert, said in April that he did not believe that this was the case, as COVID-19 patients had a relatively mild form of pulmonary fibrosis compared to SARS patients and their lung infections could gradually recover.

Some COVID-19 patients worried that they may get the disease again in two or three years, but Hu Ke, a respiratory expert from Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, told the Hubei Daily that such worries had no scientific basis and are totally unfounded.

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