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Sense of taste may predispose to severity of COVID-19, study finds

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Participants in the study, which was  published in the JAMA Network Open, who were especially keen on the bitter taste, were less likely to contract COVID-19 and were less likely to require hospitalization.

Ground Report | New Delhi: A new study states that if you can detect the taste of broccoli, celery immediately, then you are a good taste detector or supertester. The ability to detect bitter and pungent flavors can protect you from covid-19. Supertasters are people who are highly sensitive to bitterness or pungency, or they can detect a pungent or bitter taste very quickly. Researchers said that these people are  less likely to be covid-19 and less likely to be hospitalized.

The study has been published online in JAMA Network Open found that the supertaster felt the symptoms of COVID-19 for only five days, in contrast to those who did not know the taste accurately i.e. the non-taster people felt its symptoms for an average of 23 days.

Whether taste affects the risk of COVID-19 is hard to really fully understand, but researchers have a theory to explain it. The receptors for bitter or pungent taste, known as T2R38, are found in our tongue.

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Dr. Henry Barham, an ear, nose and throat specialist and researcher in Baton Rouge, La., Said that when T2R38 is stimulated, it produces nitric oxide to help kill or stop the virus in the breathing mucosa. reacts. These mucus membranes line your respiratory system and provide a point of entry for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

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He said that several studies have looked at how bitter or pungent taste receptors affect the risk of covid-19 and other upper respiratory infections.  

Study with 1935 people on the relation of taste and covid

About 1935 people whose average age was 46 were included in this study. Of these, 1101 (56.9 per cent) were women, 508 (26.3 per cent) were supertesters, 917 (47.4 per cent) were testers, 510 (26.4 per cent) were nontesters. whose taste ability was tested using paper strips. All were tested before being covid-19 to ascertain their taste and smell potential.

The participants were put into three groups which included nontaster, supertaster and taster. Nontesters are those who cannot detect bitter or pungent flavors at all. Supertasters, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive to bitterness or pungency and can detect even the smallest levels. The testers fit somewhere in the middle or which can normally detect the taste.  

During the study, Patients were stratified into more-severe and less-severe clinical courses of disease according to the need for hospitalization during the infected period a PCR test of covid-19 was found positive in 266 (13.7 per cent) participants. Of these, 55 (20.7%) participants required hospitalization. Nontesters were much more likely to be infected than Supertesters were infected, and they were also more likely to have severe Covid-19. The tester was expected to show mild to moderate symptoms of covid-19, which often do not require hospitalization. 

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Why you should be more careful

Dr. Alan Hirsch, neurological director of the Smail and Test Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, has spent his life studying the effects of smell damage and taste on illness. He has reviewed the results of this study. Hirsch said the new findings make a lot of sense and suggested that people would benefit from figuring out their own tasting state.

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If you are unable to detect bitterness or pungent taste, you should be more careful and wear masks for a longer period of time to avoid covid-19 and strictly adhere to covid regulations. Unfortunately, he said, most people don’t know what flavor group they belong to.

Supertasters make up about 25% of the adult population and make up the majority of asymptomatic or non-infected carriers because their innate immune system, including sinonasal mucosal immunity, helps prevent systemic infection of the upper respiratory tract by pathogens.

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