02:27 GMT01 November 2020
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    A new study, based on a crowdsourced survey of COVID-19 patients from more than 40 countries, suggests that COVID-19 can result not only in a loss of taste and smell but other sensations as well.

    The survey was conducted by the Global Consortium of Chemosensory Research (GCCR) and was launched on April 7. Study participants were asked to quantify their senses of smell and taste, as well as their chemesthetic sense - or the chemical sensitivity of skin and mucous membranes - before and after acquiring the novel coronavirus.

    According to the study, which was published on medRxiv.org and has yet to be peer-reviewed, 4,039 participants said that their “smell, taste and chemesthetic function were each significantly reduced compared to their status before the disease.” Chemesthesis impairment refers to a reduction in ability to feel certain sensations such as cooling, tingling and burning caused by the activation of chemical receptors. 

    “Our findings show that COVID-19 broadly impacts chemosensory function and is not limited to smell loss, and that disruption in these functions should be considered a possible indicator of COVID-19," Professor Masha Niv, vice dean at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment and a member of the GCCR, is quoted as saying by Medical Xpress.

    "What's needed to fight a global pandemic is a global approach. That's what GCCR does best. We've harnessed scientists, clinicians and patients from around the world to give us a better understanding of the disease's impact on various populations and to provide us with significant clues towards better diagnosis and treatment of the COVID-19 disease," Niv added.

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on its website that fever, cough and shortness of breath are common coronavirus symptoms, which may appear two to 14 days after exposure. 

    Other symptoms include “trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to arouse and bluish lips or face.” However, the CDC also notes that the list is not “all inclusive.” 

    An April 1 report by the New York Times also reveals that a small subset of coronavirus patients have experienced altered mental states or encephalopathy, which is a broad term to describe any disease that affects brain function.

    In mid-April, French scientists also warned that the respiratory illness may cause dermatological symptoms such as hives, painful red skin and a condition similar to frostbite.


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