The sense of smell is something we all take for granted. When the pandemic was rampant, it was not unusual to meet people who had lost their sense of smell for months.
Was it the cells that sensed smell? Actually, not really but the other cells that were part of our ability to smell were affected according to the latest information from scientists who have studied this.
The NY Times recently published an article explaining what we now know about this phenomenon.
How the Coronavirus Steals the Sense of Smell
The virus does not infect nerve cells that detect odors, researchers have found. Instead, it attacks nearby supporting cells.
By Roni Caryn Rabin March 2, 2022
Few of Covid-19’s peculiarities have piqued as much interest as anosmia, the abrupt loss of smell that has become a well-known hallmark of the disease. Covid patients lose this sense even without a stuffy nose; the loss can make food taste like cardboard and coffee smell noxious, occasionally persisting after other symptoms have resolved.
Scientists are now beginning to unravel the biological mechanisms, which have been something of a mystery: The neurons that detect odors lack the receptors that the coronavirus uses to enter cells, prompting a long debate about whether they can be infected at all.
Insights gleaned from new research could shed new light on how the coronavirus might affect other types of brain cells, leading to conditions like “brain fog,” and possibly help explain the biological mechanisms behind long Covid — symptoms that linger for weeks or months after the initial infection.