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EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327748

ABSTRACT

Background The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of self-reported chemosensory dysfunction in a study cohort of subjects who developed a mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in the period from January 17, 2022 to February 4, 2022 (Omicron proxy period) and compared that with a historical series of patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection between March and April, 2020 (comparator period). Methods Prospective study based on the sinonasal outcome tool 22 (SNOT-22), item “sense of smell or taste” and additional outcomes. Results Patients’ characteristics and clinical presentations of COVID-19 were evaluated and compared in 779 patients, 338 of the study cohort and 441 of the historical series. The prevalence of self-reported chemosensory dysfunction during the proxy Omicron period (32.5%;95% CI, 27.6-37.8) was significantly lower from that during the comparator period (66.9%;95% CI, 62.3-71.3) ( p <.001). 24.6% (95% CI, 20.1-29.5) of patients reported an altered sense of smell during the proxy Omicron period compared to 62.6% (95% CI, 57.9-67.1) during the comparator period ( p <.001). Similarly, the prevalence of an altered sense of taste dropped from 57.4% (95% CI, 52.6-62.0) during the comparator period to 26.9% (95% CI, 22.3-32.0) during the proxy Omicron period ( p <.001). The severity of chemosensory dysfunction was lower in proxy Omicron period compared to comparator period ( p <.001). Conclusions The prevalence and the severity of COVID-19 associated smell and taste dysfunction has dropped significantly with the advent of the Omicron variant.

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