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COVID-19 loss of smell and long COVID could be from inflammation

COVID-19 has left between 30-75 percent of people infected with a loss of the sense of smell.

Woman holding nose, COVID-19 took sense of smell

New research using hamsters has found that anosmia from COVID-19 is caused by severe inflammation.

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The research process

The researchers fed Cocoa Krispies cereal to hamsters infected with COVID-19. They did this to confirm genetic results in human tissue. Read more about it here.

Researchers used three groups of hamsters. One group was infected with COVID-19, one group received a control substance (as a mock infection), and the last group was infected with influenza.

The researchers then did a series of behavioral tests on the hamsters.

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Results of the study

This research proves that COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, causes severe inflammation. The inflammation occurs in the in structural cells in the olfactory system.

This causes function of nerve cells and other smell-related processes deep in the nasal cavity to be overwhelmed and impaired.

The cells your nose would typically use to smell are still there, they aren’t dying. The cells are just busy doing other things.

Some people have loss of smell that persists. This is because of the inflammation has likely traveled.

Steroids are being tested in hamsters to see if it could help persistent loss of smell.

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