Loss of taste and odor will not be added to the Covid-19 symptom list


Loss of taste and odor will “absolutely not” be added to the list of symptoms people should watch for when they measure their potential to contract Covid-19, the government has confirmed.

The announcement comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed that he lost his sense of taste when he was struck by a coronavirus last week.

He made his first public appearance on Thursday after self-isolating for seven days after a positive test for the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed he lost his sense of taste when he was struck by a coronavirus last week

Health Secretary Matt Hancock revealed he lost his sense of taste when he was struck by a coronavirus last week

The loss of taste and odor will be

Loss of taste and odor will “absolutely not” be added to the list of symptoms people should watch out for when measuring their potential to contract Covid-19, Government confirmed (Stock Image)

Speaking at a press conference in Downing Street on Friday, Hancock said: “For me personally, I lost my sense of taste, but he came back.

“I can assure people who have lost their sense of taste that the good news is that, in my case, it was not permanent. “

Researchers at King’s College London this week released evidence, based on British data, that said nearly 60% of coronavirus patients had lost taste and odor.


The UK announced 684 additional coronavirus deaths today, bringing the total number to 3,605.

Again, the number hit a record in one day – that was the case almost every day this week, every day since Tuesday announcing more victims than the previous one.

The Department of Health yesterday announced a record 569 deaths, and today’s statistics show a 20% greater increase.

The new numbers mean that the number of people who died from COVID-19 in the UK has increased fivefold in one week, down from just 759 last Friday, March 27.

But Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, deputy chief medical officer of health for England, said expert advice was that such developments should not be seen as telltale symptoms to watch for.

The advice was given to the government by the Advisory Group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats (Nervtag), said Professor Van-Tam at the press conference for number 10.

“Regarding the loss of taste and odor, we actually asked our expert advisory committee, Nervtag, to look into this matter,” he told reporters.

“And there is anecdotal evidence in the published field that a proportion of people do lose their sense of taste and smell.

“However, we have looked at the data that exists, to find out if that alone is a symptom that it would be important to add to the case definition, and the answer to that from our experts is absolutely not. “

Professor Van-Tam’s comments come after scientists at King’s College, who tracked symptoms through their specially created app, said that the smell and taste were felt by the majority of people diagnosed with Covid-19.


Matt Hancock described his battle with the coronavirus today, saying that he had lost half a stone and felt like he had razors in his throat.

The health secretary called the illness “blind” and said it prevented him from eating or drinking for a few days and that he was unable to sleep.

Hancock, who said he started “going down” on March 26, said the worst was not knowing how bad it could get.

He told BBC Breakfast, “When you are going down, it is really worrying because we can all see how serious this disease is.

“And, for some people, people who often end up in the worst health and those who die, it’s often because the lungs overreact to the virus, there is an immune response. And you just don’t know if this is going to happen, so I found it really worrisome.

After addressing the daily Downing Street press conference yesterday during his first public appearance at work, he conducted a series of media interviews on Friday morning.

Speaking to ITV Good Morning Britain, he said, “I had about two days when it was like razors in the throat, a very, very sore throat. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t drink.

As of March 31, the Covid Symptom Tracker app had more than 1.8 million registered users to log their symptoms, or lack thereof, daily.

Analysis of the data showed that 59% of the 1.5 million people who registered on March 29 and tested positive reported loss of smell and taste, compared to 18% of those who tested negative.

The researchers said the reports of these symptoms were much stronger to predict a positive Covid-19 diagnosis than self-reported fever – a symptom that Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains ill in self-isolation after his initial quarantine seven days, currently experiencing.

Scientists have concluded that the loss of smell and taste should be reason enough for people to self-isolate as a precation.

Professor Carl Philpott, a university professor at the University of East Anglia and consultant ear, nose and throat surgeon, said odor loss was a common impact of a viral infection.

“With the highest viral excretion in the nose, it is not surprising that the” unprotected “odor receptor tissue at the top of the nose is vulnerable to infection,” he said.

Viral shedding is the process by which viruses are essentially cleared from the body after they reproduce, and this is what makes people infectious.

Professor Philpott said the loss of smell seemed to affect women more than men, but it was not clear why.

He added: “Coronaviruses have been associated with what we call post-viral odor loss previously – this is the loss of smell that persists after a cold.

“There are many respiratory viruses that can potentially cause problems with olfactory receptors.

“So far, with COVID-19, odor loss appears to be transient [temporary] but only over time will we know how many people have a more permanent loss.

Secretary of Health Matt Hancock pictured at the opening of Nightingale Hospital in London today

Health Secretary Matt Hancock pictured at the opening of Nightingale Hospital in London today


This comes as an NHS trust searches for PPE providers amid the coronavirus epidemic and a national shortage of face masks, gloves and aprons, which saw Hancock insist fact that the required stocks exist but claim that there have been distribution problems.

Derby University Hospitals and the Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHDB) released the tender package “Covid-19 – PPE” on April 1. He described it as an “information gathering exercise” aimed at identifying those who could supply or manufacture PPE. he needs additional supplies in the future.

Thousands of PPE items have been donated in the past few weeks to help keep UHDB staff safe while treating Covid-19 patients, whether suspected or confirmed.

Last month, President of the Physicians Association, Dr. Rinesh Parmar, called Boris Johnson, warning doctors and nurses that they feel “cannon fodder” due to the lack of protection equipment and kits.

It also followed a letter in the Sunday Times from nearly 4,000 NHS workers who called on the Prime Minister to “protect the lives of rescuers” and resolve the “unacceptable” shortage of protective equipment.

Last week, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) revealed that there were medical staff working to save lives and turn the tide in Britain’s war against the coronavirus which has no access to it at all. basic protective clothing.

“This is certainly useful data to reinforce the call to the World Health Organization and Public Health England to add this symptom as a warning sign for people to self-isolate. “

Data collected by the ENT UK organization, which represents ear, nose and throat specialists, suggests that inability to smell – and often to taste – may be the very first symptom of COVID-19 and start within hours of infection.

Many people seem to develop no other signs, performing a full recovery without even realizing that they had coronavirus. These are thought to be primarily young, healthy adults whose immune systems react enough to the virus to hold it in the nose, preventing it from spreading to the lungs, where it can cause life-threatening pneumonia.

As a result, warns ENT UK, some COVID-19 patients are not identified as infected or need to self-isolate – and may well spread the virus to others.

“I have seen a huge increase in the number of patients attending my clinic with sudden loss of smell,” says Professor Nirmal Kumar, ENT UK president and ear, nose and throat specialist in Wrightington , Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust.

“It can accommodate up to four patients per week, mostly under the age of 40 and with no other COVID-19 symptoms. I usually don’t see more than one a month.

Professor Kumar advises patients without clear explanation of their odor loss to self-isolate for at least seven days in case they have Covid-19, even if it is not the current government recommendation.

ENT UK called on the UK authorities to recognize the symptoms as signs of coronavirus infection.

Former ENT UK President Dr Tony Narula added: ‘Normally when you get a cold or flu virus you have a stuffy nose and you smell like you can’t get in. ‘Air (which carries odors) through the nostrils,’ he says.

“With Covid-19, it’s different. The virus seems to strike the olfactory nerve directly in the nose, just between the eyes.

“One of the reasons why so many people suffer is that this nerve is not covered with protective tissue, so the virus attacks it and causes inflammation which prevents olfactory signals from reaching the brain.”

Matt Hancock’s five-point plan to increase the number of coronavirus tests to 100,000 per day

Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday announced a five-point plan to increase the number of coronavirus tests in the UK by ten.

The five points he revealed are:

Increase the number of swab tests performed by Public Health England laboratories and the NHS to 25,000 per day by the end of the month

So far, shortages of chemicals and swabs have been accused of delaying progress in this effort.

It is believed that the PHE and NHS laboratories have the ability to perform 100,000 tests per day.

Significantly expand the swab test network using universities and research institutes and private sector retailers like Boots and Amazon

The secretary of health’s main initiative has been to give the green light to universities, institutes and private companies to get involved in testing.

So far, there have been complaints of control of the freakery in a government insisting on the use of its own facilities to avoid getting unreliable results.

Introduce blood tests for antibodies that would tell people if they got the virus and recovered

This is the game-changing test that says who is capable of breaking the constraints of lockdown and reviving the economy.

Hancock said there are no proven versions of the test yet and that the science of immunity for people after the disease is still in development.

But he confirmed that the government plans to issue “immunity certificates” to those who pass these tests, so that they can resume a “normal life.”

Increase community surveillance to determine infection rate and spread across the country

The abandonment of community testing when the government moved from confinement to “delaying” the epidemic was very controversial last month.

The government wanted to focus resources on hospital patients as the number increased.

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that without such mass testing in the community, the government “is trying to fight a fire with a blindfold.”

Increase the size of the UK diagnostic industry

Hancock criticized head-on that the UK was far behind Germany in terms of the number of tests.

He bluntly admitted that the UK does not have the same scale of biotechnology industry as Germany, where many companies already manufacture large-scale screening equipment.

But Hancock is committed to developing this infrastructure – which will not be a quick task.

Small ships sailing to the rescue: the prestigious department of the University of Oxford famous for helping to create penicillin, the world-renowned Francis Crick Institute and a private laboratory in Oxfordshire say they could carry out thousands of tests per day

Number 10 yesterday abandoned the centralized testing approach of chief health monsters and urged the scientific industry at large to help increase capacity.

Matt Hancock said the UK will run 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month when he finally reports a turnaround on the UK screening regime.

He came in the midst of “time is running out” warnings to step up mass testing of coronaviruses to help Britain contain the escalating crisis – which has killed nearly 3,000 people.

The director general of one of the UK’s leading laboratories urged the Prime Minister to summon the spirit of Dunkirk and let the laboratories of “small ships” begin to detect the deadly infection that is rampantly spreading over British soil.

The Francis Crick Institute has started to swap NHS staff into a single trust and aims to increase to 500 a day by next week and expand to other overwhelmed hospitals in the capital.

Other smaller laboratories say they have also volunteered to help carry out tests, including the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford and the Jack Birch Cancer Research Unit in York.

Another – the systems biology laboratory in Abingdon – is already testing local GP staff and Cancer Research UK said it also provides equipment and expert staff to help clean up the British.

But scientists say there are dozens of laboratories in the UK that already have the equipment to process coronavirus tests, and that any “self-respecting” facility would be equipped to start immediately.

Where are the small ships that are sailing to the rescue? And how many tests can they perform each day?

Francis Crick Institute, London

The Francis Crick Institute at King's Cross, London, has already started testing NHS staff at local hospitals and has said it hopes to pass 2,000 tests a day.

The Francis Crick Institute at King’s Cross in London has already started testing NHS staff at local hospitals and has said it hopes to pass 2,000 tests a day.

The Francis Crick Institute, one of London’s leading biomedical science labs, has already started using its facilities to test NHS staff at University College London Hospitals NHS Trust.

He hopes to scale up to 500 tests a day early next week with the ultimate goal of doing 2,000 a day – the equivalent of about 14,000 a week.

The institute – a partnership of leading charities and universities – will aim to deliver results within 24 hours, so that NHS staff can return to work as quickly as possible.

In comparison, only about 10,000 patients are tested each day as part of Public Health England’s centralized approach.

Sir Paul Nurse, Director of Crick, said: “Testing is an essential part of the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. We wanted to use our facilities and expertise to help front line NHS personnel fighting this virus.

“Institutes like ours unite in a Dunkirk spirit – small boats which, collectively, can have a huge impact on the national effort. “

Cancer Research UK has scientists at the Crick Institute who help conduct the tests and also use its staff and equipment across the country to help test medical workers so they can continue working on the front lines without fear of spreading. the infection.

The charity’s executive director of research, Iain Foulkes, said, “They are providing the capacity they desperately need in times of national crisis and are quickly testing NHS staff so they can decide if they can resume their vital work.

“As a scientific research community, we must fight the pandemic together – the sooner we do it, the sooner our researchers can get back to fighting cancer.” “

Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford

Oxford University's Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, which generally studies human diseases, said it had offered aid to the government but had not been mandated

Oxford University’s Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, which generally studies human diseases, said it had offered help to the government but had not been mandated

Some scientists with adequate facilities have already volunteered to assist the government’s efforts, but have not seen their offer accepted.

Matthew Freeman of Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford said in a tweet: “We have a lot of people experienced in PCR. “

PCR machines examine DNA from a swab from the nose or throat for signs of viral genetic material (RNA) left by the coronavirus.

This is the type of test currently used by Public Health England, which has eight of its own laboratories and access to 40 in NHS hospitals across the country.

Freeman added, “We would like to help and have been trying to volunteer for weeks. Must be made up of many university departments and institutes in a similar position.

“I would love to know more about why we can’t be used. I would like to know if others have been more successful in providing services.

“I understand how complex it is: quality control, biosecurity, ethics … But I can’t help but think that in the event of an emergency, this could have been resolved. Less complex than building a 5,000-bed hospital in two weeks. “

The department – famous for the development of penicillin – would normally use its machines to examine the minute workings of human infections and illnesses.

Another Oxford laboratory – the Butt Group, which studies genetics – added on Twitter: “I echo this feeling of frustration: we volunteered on day 1 and after being asked 3 times to list our expertise, we heard nothing. “

Marc Dionne, a researcher at Imperial College London, replied: “Many Imperial hold the same position. I’ve heard that one of the staff shortages right now is not people who can do PCR but people who can lead them. ”

Systems Biology Laboratory, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

Systems biology laboratory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is already testing staff at local medical offices

Systems biology laboratory in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, is already testing staff at local medical offices

Systems Biology Laboratory, a not-for-profit scientific society, has taken care of local problems and already tests the staff of 14 general practices in Oxfordshire twice a week.

The tests – it does about 100 a day, according to The Times – mean staff can continue to work safely knowing they don’t have the coronavirus, so don’t pass it on to patients.

Laboratory director Mike Fischer said he started buying test kits online about two weeks ago and they cost around £ 10 a time. He hopes to evolve to be able to do 800 tests per day.

Fischer said the lab also uses PCR tests and has ordered 15,000 more. We do not know from whom they bought them or how much they cost.

He said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 1,000 labs like this. We actually have this incredibly valuable strategic resource distributed across the country. “

Although Mr. Fischer is not officially accredited as a test center, he said the government was aware of what it was doing and was “supportive”.

Fischer, who also co-founded stock imagery company Alamy, said his team of five could take 500 tests each day after the process was fine-tuned.

Jack Birch Cancer Research Unit, York

Yesterday, one of the founders of the Jack Birch Cancer Research Unit in York said the facility was capable of performing potentially thousands of tests every day.

One of the founders of the Jack Birch Cancer Research Unit in York said yesterday that the facility is capable of performing potentially thousands of tests every day.

One of the founders of the Jack Birch Cancer Research Unit in York said yesterday that the facility – which focuses primarily on the study of bladder cancer – is capable of potentially performing thousands of tests every day.

Professor Colin Garner, who said that the United Kingdom must take action in wartime to fight the epidemic, said that “each self-respecting laboratory will have the equipment to perform hundreds, if not thousands, of these tests every day. “

In a call to action, he said, “My understanding is that the UK is building a large test center in Milton Keynes. Why wait until it is built when there are labs and inactive people in the UK who could do these tests now?

Professor Garner urged the government to create an immediate task force made up of the medical and biological sciences, cancer research labs, pharmaceutical giants, the NHS and others.

He said: “Just as the government called for volunteers to help the vulnerable and asked for 750,000 people, it should now immediately appeal to all scientists in the British laboratory and enlist them in this national effort. “

“It is heartbreaking to put our frontline medical staff at risk when there is a national testing capacity that could be used now.

“A centralized laboratory is not the answer. Regional laboratories should be created and all of the above organizations should be enrolled … The UK has some of the best scientists and facilities in the world. Let’s put them to work to beat COVID-19.


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