Several COVID patients reported a loss in the sense of taste. The loss was seen as nothing more than a quirky but minor inconvenience. Experts believed that the lack of taste resulted from the virus’s impact on the sense of smell. Smell impacts your ability to taste. However, a new study has shown that the Covid-19 virus directly damages taste buds.
Scientists carried out tests on 105 people who claimed to have experienced disruption of their sense of taste. More than three months after being infected with COVID, they still had problems tasting sweet, bitter, sour, or salty things. Examinations showed that 42% of the participants had deficiencies in basic tastes – also known as hypogeusia. The results point to damage to the taste buds.
According to one of the study’s authors, it was hard to gauge an actual loss of taste. Decreased flavor perception could also occur from a diminished sense of smell. It has been assumed that loss of taste resulting from loss of smell has been the most reported COVID taste disruption. However, new theories suggest that COVID directly impacts taste buds using the same method that damages lungs. This mechanism causes changes in taste that range from a complete inability to detect flavors to only having mild issues with taste.
A compromised sense of taste resulting from Covid-19 infection is expected to resolve on its own. Unfortunately for some patients, this condition is dragging on for months after falling ill. So far, few treatment options exist to deal with the problem.