ONE in every 20 people who catch Covid will permanently lose their sense of smell or taste, a study has found.
More than a million people may already suffer long-term problems, with 45million virus cases recorded up to April.
One in every 20 people catching Covid permanently lose their sense of smell or taste
A study in the British Medical Journal estimates 5.6 per cent of patients may never get their sense of smell back, while 4.4 per cent may lose taste permanently.
Losing those senses is common while sick, but many suffer for weeks, months or even years afterwards.
Scientists at the National University of Singapore checked data from 3,699 patients who lost their taste or smell after catching Covid to see how many recovered.
Three quarters got them back within a month but the study said “a major group might develop long lasting dysfunction”.
Women are more likely to suffer permanent damage.
The NHS says 1.6million people in England have long Covid.
It plans to tackle it with 90 specialist clinics.
Dr Kiren Collison, chairwoman of the NHS long Covid taskforce, said: “Long Covid can be devastating for those living with it.”