Have you ever wondered why only some people lose their smell when they contract covid-19? The answer to this question is more complicated then it seems. The real answer requires a deep dive into genetics and DNA.
Earlier in the pandemic we were told that if you were to lose taste or smell then this is a likely sign you have the virus. Now we are understanding that not all people have this “common” symptom. A study was done to show the true numbers behind this phenomenon. Out of 70,000 adults who contracted the virus, 11% of adults with a certain genetic makeup on chromosome 4 were more likely to lose their smell and taste. I then wondered how can one chromosome have an effect on losing taste?
I found my answer. As it turns out, the two genes: UGT2A1 and UGT2A2 are two genes that help people smell. These genes are located right next to chromosome 4 which is why these people are more prone to losing their smell when they contract the virus. Additionally, the actual pathways that cause our ability to smell and taste are over and under performing depending on the person. Similar to our Biology class, everyone has different sets of genes. Some genes can be closer to others. Therefore, only some people are affected by this lack of smell and taste if their UGT2A1 and UGT2A2 genes are closer to the location of the variant.