J Neurochem. 2020 Sep 24. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15197. Online ahead of print.
Olfactory disorders have been increasingly reported in individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Losing the sense of smell has a strong impact on the quality of life, since it may lead to malnutrition, weight loss, food poisoning, depression, and exposure to dangerous chemicals. Individuals who suffer from anosmia (inability to smell) also cannot sense the flavor of food, which is a combination of taste and smell. Interestingly, infected individuals have reported sudden loss of smell with no congested nose, as is frequently observed in common colds or other upper respiratory tract infections. These observations suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to olfactory loss through a distinct mechanism, which is still unclear. This article provides an overview of olfactory loss and the recent findings relating to COVID-19. Possible mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 induced olfactory loss are also discussed.