A new analysis published in the medical journal of the British Medical Association found that millions of people have yet to regain their sense of taste and smell after recovering from COVID-19.
The researchers analyzed 18 previous studies, which included 3,700 patients from all over the world. They determined that an estimated 5% or roughly 27 million people who reported losing their sense of taste or smell were still dealing with those symptoms after six months.
"We're pretty excited about this new study," said study co-author Dr. Christopher von Bartheld, a neuroscientist and a professor of physiology and cell biology at the University of Nevada at Reno. "Now we know approximately how many people lose their sense of smell, and it's a pretty huge number."
The researchers did note that most people recover their senses within a few months. They found that 74% of people who reported losing their sense of taste or smell recovered them within 30 days. Within 90 days, 90% said their senses had returned.
For those who have not regained their senses, von Bartheld said that olfactory training has been shown to help. He hopes the research will lead to a better understanding of what causes the loss of taste and sense and result in other treatments to help restore peoples' sense of taste and smell.