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Odor loss may be a ‘highly reliable indicator’ of Covid-19, the research finds

The researchers, based in the United Kingdom, wrote in their study that people who lose their sense of smell or taste should consider isolating themselves, even if they have no other symptoms.

Our findings show that loss of smell and taste is a reliable indicator that a person is likely to have Covid-19 and if we are to reduce the spread of this pandemic, governments should consider it world as a standard for self-isolation, testing and contact monitoring, “Rachel Batterham, of University College London and University College London Hospitals, who assisted the leadership of the study team, said in a statement on Thursday.

The team studied 590 volunteers who experienced a new odor or taste, and they tested 567 of them for Covid-1


Among the 567 people tested, 77.6% tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies. In total, 80.4% of participants reported odor loss and 77.8% of those who reported loss of taste had positive test results, researchers reported in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Nearly 40% of those tested positive for antibodies had no fever or cough.

Batterham and his colleagues also found that participants with only odor loss were almost three times more likely than patients with only loss of taste to have Covid-19 antibodies, and participants with combined loss of smell and taste is four times more likely to have antibodies.

“These findings suggest that an odor loss is a specific specific symptom of Covid-19, as opposed to loss of taste, despite their comparable frequency,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The study recruited its volunteers between April 23 and May 14, during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak in London. The findings have some limitations, including that the study did not include a comparison group of people who did not lose their sense of smell and / or taste.

In general, loss of odor – called anosmia – arises early in the pandemic as a possible symptom of Covid-19. In May, it was added to the official list of coronavirus symptoms in the United Kingdom, announced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

At the time, a government statement said “all individuals should be isolated if they develop a new persistent cough or fever or anosmia.”

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