Fewer people have smell, taste loss with omicron variant

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Since the early days of the pandemic, loss of smell and taste have been tied to COVID-19 infection.

But scientists from Virginia Commonwealth University found those tell-tale traits are much less likely with the Omicron variant than the earlier Alpha and Delta versions of the coronavirus.

The research is published in Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery and was conducted by Dr. Daniel Coelho et al.

In the study, the team analyzed U.S. National Institutes of Health data on more than 3.5 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

They pinpointed six-week periods where cases were highest for each variant studied, then compared how many patients were diagnosed with smell and taste loss during these time periods.

They found rates of smell and taste loss were 17% for Omicron, compared with 44% for Delta and 50% for Alpha.

The team says as the pandemic continues and new variants emerge, this is very good news for patients.

Each variant has a different risk factor for associated smell and taste loss, and have reason to believe that newer variants are less likely to impact smell and taste.

The impacts of the loss of smell and taste are not just about being able to enjoy a fine bottle of wine again; it’s about safety and preserving your quality of life.

Their research shows that more than half of people suffering from smell and taste loss have reported feeling depressed.

Patients with smell loss also have a higher rate of dementia. Fewer people experiencing these symptoms means fewer people being impacted by mood changes and cognitive problems.

The study also could help efforts to identify what part of the COVID-19 virus causes the loss of smell and taste.

If you care about omicron, please read studies that omicron infection just 20 days after Delta, and people who get booster shot recover faster from Omicron than from Delta.

For more information about Covid, please see recent studies that new nasal spray booster keeps COVID-19 at bay, and results showing why some people are symptom free, while other are critically ill in COVID-19.

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