A Swedish study found that 65% of individuals who recovered from COVID-19 were still experiencing some form of damage to their sense of smell 18 months later.
More than one-third of participants in the hundred-person study by the Karolinska Institute demonstrated a reduced sense of smell, and nearly half experienced parosmia, the distortion of one’s sense of smell. Approximately 65% of recovered COVID-19 patients experience an altered sense of smell 18 months later, the study found.
The researchers stated that nearly 70% of those who get the virus experience partial or total loss of smell at some point during their infection, and those still experiencing olfactory loss 18 months after recovery will likely have permanent damage, according to the study.
Loss of smell is half as common with the Omicron coronavirus variant compared to the Delta variant, according to the U.K. Health Security Agency.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed. Researchers tested healthcare workers at a Stockholm, Sweden, hospital who caught earlier variants of the virus before vaccines became available against a control group that never had the virus.
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