COVID-19: Loss of smell due to coronavirus could be down to genetics, scientists say

Scientists have said the reason some people lose their sense of smell after contracting #COVID19 could be down to genetics

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1/18/2022 4:22:00 PM

Scientists have said the reason some people lose their sense of smell after contracting COVID19 could be down to genetics

The precise cause of this sensory loss related to coronavirus is not known, but scientists believe it is caused by damage to infected cells in part of the nose called the olfactory epithelium - which is found in the nasal cavity.

The study doesn't reveal how many were from each country.Of those who took part, 68% reported a loss of smell or taste as a symptom.After comparing the genetic differences between those who lost their sense of smell and those who reported that they did not suffer this symptom, the study team found a region of the genome associated with this split that's situated near two genes, UGT2A1 and UGT2A2.

Both of these genes are expressed within tissue inside the nose involved in smell and play a role in metabolising odorants.Image:Loss of smell is a symptom of COVID-19"It was this really beautiful example of science where, starting with a large body of activated research participants who have done this 23andMe test, we were able to very quickly gain some biological insights into this disease that would otherwise be very, very difficult to do," said Adam Auton, vice president of human genetics at 23andMe and the lead author of the study.

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