A research group commissioned by Japan's health ministry will conduct a large-scale survey on the loss of smell as a symptom of COVID-19.
Loss of smell has been reported as one of the various symptoms of the coronavirus disease, but detailed research on it has yet to be conducted in Japan.
The group, led by Kanazawa Medical University Professor Miwa Takaki, will target more than 1,000 patients being treated at medical institutions across Japan. The survey, which will begin later this month, will monitor the patients' olfactory functions using test kits.
The group will also look at stress and other mental conditions when people suffer from the symptom for a long time.
There are reports that the loss of smell related to COVID-19 is likely caused by an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the nose, a condition also found in cases of the common cold. Research also suggests that the inflammation of cells related to the sense of smell, as well as a part of the brain thought to perceive smell, may be the cause of the symptom.
The group hopes to analyze the results of the survey by the end of March and use the findings to help determine the causes and develop treatments.
Miwa said he believes that the survey will reveal detailed knowledge about how many patients suffer from the symptom as an aftereffect, and how long the symptom can persist. He added that he hopes that the survey will lead to treatment and rid patients of anxiety.