TUCSON (KVOA)- Some people who test positive for the coronavirus report having symptoms, including the loss of smell.
Harvard Medical School neuroscientists lead an international team of researchers in a study published Science Advances on how COVID-19 could cause loss of smell.
In the upper nasal cavity, the researchers identified olfactory cell types that were most vulnerable to the coronavirus.
One of the genes they focused on was ACE2, which is found in human respiratory tract cells.
"The research team found that olfactory sensory neurons do not express the gene that encodes the ACE2 receptor protein, which SARS-CoV-2 uses to enter human cells," according to The Harvard Gazette. "Instead, ACE2 is expressed in cells that provide metabolic and structural support to olfactory sensory neurons, as well as certain populations of stem cells and blood vessel cells."
The study suggests that the novel coronavirus is affecting the function of supporting cells, which then indirectly causes changes to the sensory neurons.
The Harvard Gazette reported that in most cases this implies SARS-CoV-2 infection is unlikely to cause permanent damage and lead to persistent loss of smell.
To read the full study, click here.
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