A recent finding published on December 21, 2022, in Science Daily, regarding the topic on why COVID-19 affects our ability to smell in the long run, was uncovered by the Duke University Medical Center. The biological mechanisms that are behind the loss of smell many people face who have had COVID-19, may also be the reason for some of the other symptoms of COVID-19 such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and brain fog.
Although many people recover from the side effects of being infected with SARS-CoV2 within a few weeks, there are many cases where some people’s smell is still altered for several months after. An experiment at Duke University conducted by Bradley Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in Duke’s Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Communication Sciences and the Department of Neurobiology, collected 24 biopsies and examined the olfactory epithelial in each one. Using a single- cell analysis to examine the biopsies, it was discovered that multiple T-cells were heavily inflamed in the olfactory epithelium and that there was a loss of multiple olfactory sensory neurons. This is why many people have had a loss of smell even in the absence of SARS-CoV-2.
In biology class when learning about the immune system and can fight and prevent viruses, such as SARS-CoV-2. We also learned about the importance of T-cells, which are a large group of lymphocytes that play an important role in the immune response. We also specifically touch upon the central roles of T- cells and how “helper T- cells” recognize antigens and stimulate humoral and cell mediated immunity by releasing cytokines. We have discussed how vital T- cells are to our bodies while fighting off viruses because they protect us from infection and Without T cells, every exposure of pathogens that we face daily could be life-threatening to us. This relates to why our smell could be altered for so long after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus because our T-cells aren’t able to properly function since they are inflamed in the olfactory epithelium.