Loss of smell anticipates a good prognosis for COVID-19 patients

Loss of smell is not only one of the symptoms that indicate COVID-19 infection, it is also a symptom of a good prognosis of the disease, according to an international investigation led by scientists from the Complutense University and the Hospital Clínico San Carlos de Madrid.

Through a study carried out in conjunction with numerous Spanish centers, and with the largest sample used so far (5,868 admitted patients), the researchers confirmed that although its origin is still a mystery, anosmia – loss of smell – may act as a good prognostic factor for the disease.

"These results have many implications, from the initial evaluation of patients to the ability to understand pathophysiology. Possibly invasion of the nasal epithelium triggers adequate immunity avoiding cytokine storms", explained Jesús Porta-Etessam, head of the Neurology Section of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos, professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and first author of the work.

In addition to identifying anosmia as a good prognostic factor, researchers have determined that olfactory and taste dysfunctions are more frequent in women (12.41% vs 8.67%), in those under 65 years of age and in patients with kidney, lung, heart, neurological or oncological pathologies.

The results obtained on one of the earliest symptoms of coronavirus They can serve as criteria when classifying patients or making therapeutic decisions, according to the Complutense University of Madrid in a note released this Monday (03/15/2021).

The conclusions of this study could be used to elaborate "risk indices" of complications, which according to Porta-Etessam would be very useful and interesting when observing, treating or evaluating the discharge of patients.