Cells Infected


Anchor lead: Does loss of sense of smell point to the exact tissue where Sars-CoV2 takes hold? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Where exactly does Sars-CoV2 infect the body? It may be the tissue that enables your sense of smell, called the olfactory epithelium. That’s according to Andrew Lane, director of rhinology and sinus surgery at Johns Hopkins.

Lane: People would ask why do you lose your sense of smell with this infection? And people who have viral infections in general might lose their sense of smell as part of it and typically its in the setting of a stuffy nose. In this disease COVID 19 the really interesting part of it is that 5% or less of people with COVID-19 complain of a runny nose or stuffiness or typical cold symptoms. People specifically say oh I’ve only lost my sense of smell but I have no other nasal symptoms suggesting to me and a lot of other people that maybe the virus is actually infecting the olfactory tissue.  :32

Lane says that one receptor known to be used by the virus is present at a much greater concentration in the olfactory epithelium than elsewhere, so the idea that infection takes place there makes sense. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.