Korean J Otorhinolaryngol-Head Neck Surg.  2020 Nov;63(11):491-496. 10.3342/kjorl-hns.2020.01039.

COVID-19 and Smell Loss

  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


The world has been facing a tremendous threat for more than 1 year by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Because of the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, it is necessary to be aware of the characteristics and symptoms of COVID-19 in order to prevent the COVID-19 spread. Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, headache and various types of pneumonia. Recently, smell loss has been extensively reported in COVID-19 patients. They experience this before other general symptoms or smell loss can be their only symptom. These types of patients may be neglected and a potential source for viral spread. Thus, screening tests of COVID-19 should be considered if patients have smell loss without any other nasal symptoms. Even though the recovery rate of smell loss in COVID-19 is relatively high, there are unmet needs for further studies including the mechanism of olfactory dysfunction, proper treatment and long-term recovery in COVID-19.


Ageusia; Anosmia; Coronavirus; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Smell
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