COVID – 19 effect on taste and smell

Ieva Klinavičiūtė1, Miglė Puodžiūnaitė1 

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania


At the end of 2019 numerous cases of viral pneumonia of unknown cause appeared in Wuhan, China. Soon similar cases were noticed all over China and around the world. The World Health Organization declared that the new outbreak is a Public Health Emergency of International concern and in the beginning of March it was named as a pandemic. The mysterious disease caught global attention and many scientific and medical researches emerged. It was detected that this pneumonia is caused by SARS – COV – 2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). A small 80 – 220 nm diameter single – stranded RNR virus, that belongs to Orthocoronaviridae subfamily, Coronaviridae family and order nidovirales. It was revealed that the majority of infected patients visited the sea –  food market in Huanan, where a variety of cooked wild animals, including bats, one of the largest reservoirs of coronaviruses were being sold. Patients, who did not have any contact with Huanan sea – food market lead to conclusion that virus can be transmitted by direct contact or aerosolized respiratory droplets. Incubation period of the CoVID – 19 is from 3 to 24 days.   The virus invades the target cells through the  ACEII receptors with a help of cell surface protease – TMPRSS2. The majority of ACEII receptors can be detected on the surface of type II alveolocytes, enterocytes in small intestine and endothelial cells in arteries and veins. Furthermore, recent studies have shown that a significant amount of ACEII receptors are located in the basal layer of squamous epithelium in the mucosa of nose, mouth and nasopharynx. While analyzing the data from systematic reviews it was noted the most common complaints were not only unproductive cough, fever, malaise but also anosmia and ageusia. The latter symptoms are prevalent in both –  mild and severe forms of the disease and might be rather important in early diagnostics of COVID – 19 as it can contribute to early isolation and prevention of further spreading. Patients experiencing anosmia and ageusia usually approach ENT doctors as well as primary care specialists, therefore a better understanding of anosmia and ageusia is vital for both of them.

Keywords: COVID – 19, anosmia, ageusia.