Is there one symptom that can more or less point towards a coronavirus infection? According to Swiss journal, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, there is indeed one such symptom. A research conducted by the journal suggests that there is a correlation between a person's severity of symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath with the severity of loss of smell.
Ahmad Sedaghat, MD and Associate Professor and researcher for the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine, said that 61 per cent complained of reduced or lost sense of smell. "If the anosmia, also known as loss of smell, is worse, the patients reported worse shortness of breath and more severe fever and cough," Sedaghat said in a statement.
Loss of smell can also help doctors determine how long the patient has been infected for. He said that if someone has a reduced sense of smell then it signifies that he or she is within the first week of the disease course and there could be another week or two to deal with.
Speaking about a treatment for coronavirus, Sedaghat said that experimental drugs such as Gilead's remdesivir can only be effective if the person is diagnosed early. "Antiviral medications have historically worked best when given early during a viral infection. The same is hypothesised to be true for remdesivir," Sedaghat said in his statement. He added that once remdesivir is more widely available, decreased sense of smell could help in identifying patients who would be excellent candidates for the medication.
However, the researcher has said that loss of smell is not the sole or definitive symptom for coronavirus as some do not experience loss of smell at all. Additionally, loss of smell alone is not harmful. He says that if one experiences other COVID symptoms too, that's when they should be alarmed.