Covid study finds millions have long-term smell or taste problems

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A woman smells a cup of coffee. Experts say loss or change of sense of smell or taste can lead to severe distress. Photograph: Raúl Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images


(Andrew Gregory/ The Guardian) — Millions of people worldwide may have long-term smell or taste problems as a result of Covid-19, with women more likely to be affected, a study suggests.

About 5% of adults infected with the coronavirus may develop long-lasting changes to their sense of smell or taste, according to the research published in the BMJ.

With more than 550m confirmed Covid-19 cases to date, it means there may be long-term smell deficiencies for 15 million people and taste problems for 12 million (with an unknown overlap of those suffering both) for at least six months after an infection.

Given the devastating effect that loss of smell and taste can have on quality of life and wellbeing, this will have a huge impact on global health, the team of international researchers say. (…)

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