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Between Bitter Taste Receptor and COVID

Key Points

What is the association between the bitter taste receptor phenotype and outcomes after infection with SARS-CoV-2?

In this cohort study of 1935 adults, 266 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and those who experienced low intensity of bitter tastes or no bitter tastes (nontasters) were significantly more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2, to be hospitalized, and to be symptomatic for a longer duration. Conversely, those who experienced greater intensity of bitter tastes (supertasters) represented 5.6% of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, suggesting enhanced innate immune protection.

This study suggests that bitter taste receptor allelic variants are associated with innate immune fitness toward SARS-CoV-2 and can be used to correlate with clinical course and prognosis of COVID-19.

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