The Effects of COVID on the Body

Campbell Toth, Writer

As a result of Janie F. Shelton’s research on COVID, we now know that a possible reasoning for
the common symptom of COVID, loss of smell, is two specific genes on chromosome 4.
Variants in this chromosome have been pinpointed as a possible cause for this oddity in the

The study, conducted by Shelton and other researchers, overviewed 70,000 people with
COVID-19. Of these people, people with a modification on chromosome 4 were 11% more likely
to lose their smell than those without this genetic modification.
The two genes in the chromosome, UGT2A1 and UGT2A2, scientifically, “catalyze
biotransformation reactions in which lipophilic substrates are conjugated with glucuronic acid to
increase water solubility and enhance excretion” ( However, in simpler terms, aid
people in their ability to smell while also residing in an area which is related to sensory loss
during an infection.

The two genes essentially make the odor which our body designates as specific smells. The
specific product which the genes make are called odorants and let off a specific odor.
Another part of the loss of smell comes from where the actual COVID-19 infection is taking
place. In many cases, the infection takes place in cells which directly support the sense of smell
in the human body. By having an infection inside this part of the body, genes such as UGT2A1
and UGT2A2 can essentially be turned on and off resulting in a loss of smell.

However, a possible place of error in this study was the lack of separation between whether the
taste of smell was lost. The question which resided in the survey was whether or not you lost
your taste and smell or not. By not specifying whether or not you lost one and not the other,
there will be a small amount of percent error in the study. However, as stated by the studies’
leader, “When you lose your taste of smell, often your taste is highly diminished.” This was the
reasoning as to why the two symptoms aren’t separated.

As for the lasting effects of COVID, we do not know. The reasoning for many side effects, such
as continued lack of smell, continued lack of taste, and possible heart problems has not been
studied thoroughly enough to come to a concrete conclusion. However, much of the science
community is aiming to learn all about this pandemic to end it once and for all.