UK researchers have suggested that a loss of taste or smell could be a sign of coronavirus.
By mapping the symptoms of over 400,000 people through an app, the researchers of King’s College London discovered a high rate of deadened senses among those suspected of having the virus.
However, losing your sense of smell and taste is a common symptom of other respiratory infections, such as flu or even the common cold. The fever and continuous cough are still the most important symptoms of coronavirus to looks out for. If you find yourself unable to taste your food, it doesn’t automatically mean you have the disease, it may be down to a common sniffle.
53% of the respondent reported that they had fatigue or tiredness, 29% had a persistent cough, 28% had a shortness of breath and 18% had a loss of taste or smell.
Crucially, of the 400,000 people, only 1,702 said that they had been tested for COVID-19, and of those, only 579 had a positive result. When just looking at these 579 people, 59% reported a loss of smell or taste.
The World Health Organization and Public Health England have not added this loss of sense to the list of coronavirus symptoms yet, but experts are hoping that looking at this alongside other symptoms will help to refine the identification of the illness that has spread across the globe.
Lead Researcher, Professor Time Spector said, “When combined with other symptoms, people with loss of smell and taste appear to be three times more likely to have contracted COVID-19 according to our data.”