Jun 4, 2021

Scientists Find Genetic Link to Loss of Smell Among COVID-19 Patients

An article in the 23andMe Blog will interest many genealogists:

Researchers at 23andMe have identified a new genetic variant associated with COVID-19 induced loss of smell and taste.

“The findings, published in a preprint released on medRxiv, note that the genetic variant is near two olfactory genes.  Loss of smell and, or taste — also called anosmia — is a hallmark symptom of COVID-19. It is often the earliest indication of infection, and in some cases, the only symptom. An individual with one copy of the variant is about 11.5 percent more likely to lose their sense of smell or taste if infected compared to someone with zero copies.

“The research adds another piece to the COVID-19 puzzle, and it builds on the work already done by 23andMe over the last year that includes new findings around the role blood type plays in severity and susceptibility to the virus. This piece of the puzzle is intriguing because the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 first enters the body and accumulates in olfactory support cells. The findings may offer researchers important insights into the biological pathway for infection.

“For these findings, the researchers again used data from more than one million people who consented to participate in 23andMe’s COVID-19 Study.  By examining the differences in the genome between COVID-19 cases who did and did not experience loss of taste or smell, our scientists identified an association on chromosome 4 near the olfactory genes UGT2A1 and UGT2A2.”

You can read the entire article at: