A team of scientists have figured out why COVID-19 patients lose their sense of smell.
"There is evidence now that the virus can directly attack heart muscle cells, and there's also evidence that the cytokine storm that the virus triggers in the body not only damages the lungs, but can damage the heart", says Swartzberg, who did not work on either of these new studies. All the patients were considered to be "mostly healthy prior to their illness", the researchers said.
The researchers were surprised to discover sensory neurons, which detect and transmit the sense of smell to the brain are not vulnerable to the disease.More news: Ryan Reynolds offers $5000 reward for return of woman's teddy bear
An worldwide team of researchers led by neuroscientists at Harvard Medical School (HMS) recently identified the olfactory cell types that are most vulnerable to infection by SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19).
SARS-CoV-2 viruses binding to ACE-2 receptors on a human cell, the initial stage of COVID-19 infection.
The researchers have also said their findings should be used to help doctors monitor the long-term cardiac health of recovered Covid patients.More news: Trump's pandemic pick: Dr. 'demon sex' over Fauci
"Our findings indicate that the novel coronavirus changes the sense of smell in patients not by directly infecting neurons but by affecting the function of supporting cells", said the study's senior author Sandeep Robert Datta, as quoted by the HMS's news release.
This finding implies that infection is unlikely to cause lasting damage and persistent loss of smell. When the infection clears, the patient can regain the sense of smell.
How heart health is affected by COVID-19 - the disease caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or simply the coronavirus - has been the subject of much speculation and study. The team utilized a machine-learning algorithm to study data from more than 1,600 patients in the United States and the United Kingdom. For instance, Tomey said some patients who had Covid-19 in March or April are still experiencing weakness and fatigue. The team added the entries of an additional 1,047 patients in the U.S., U.K., and Sweden in May.More news: US Vigorous Diplomacy Led International Awakening to Threat of CCP: Pompeo
The researchers called for more investigation, as the study was not based on a large group of patients, youths under 18, and people who now battle the disease instead of those recovering from Covid-19. "It can have serious psychological consequences and could be a major public health problem if we have a growing population with permanent loss of smell", said Datta. The second cluster included headache, loss of smell, cough, sore throat, hoarseness, loss of appetite, and fever. "... if this high rate of risk is confirmed, the pathologic basis for progressive left ventricular dysfunction is validated, and especially if longitudinal assessment reveals new-onset heart failure in the recovery phase of COVID-19, then the crisis of COVID-19 will not abate but will instead shift to a new de novo incidence of heart failure and other chronic cardiovascular complications". "If you can predict who these people are at day five, you have time to give them support and early interventions such as monitoring blood oxygen and sugar levels, and ensuring they are properly hydrated - simple care that could be given at home, preventing hospitalizations and saving lives", Dr. Claire Steves, consultant geriatrician, and study author, said.