New York: The temporary loss of smell that some Covid-19 patients experience may not be as dangerous as generally presumed as a new study led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School has found that olfactory support cells, not neurons, are vulnerable to novel coronavirus infection.
Temporary loss of smell, or anosmia, is the main neurological symptom and one of the earliest and most commonly reported indicators of Covid-19.
Studies suggest it better predicts the disease than other well-known symptoms such as fever and cough, but the underlying mechanisms for loss of smell in patients with Covid-19 have been unclear.
The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, identified the olfactory cell types most vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
Surprisingly, the sensory neurons that detect and transmit the sense of smell to the brain are not among the vulnerable cell types.