The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused recurring and major outbreaks in multiple human populations around the world. The plethora of clinical manifestations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been described extensively, of which COVID-19-related olfactory dysfunction (OD) has been recognised as an important and common symptom of COVID-19 infection. The aim of this study is to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of peer-reviewed articles, which described clinical data of smell disturbances and OD in COVID-19 patients.
This research protocol has been prospectively registered with the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO; CRD42020196202). Accordingly, PubMed (MEDLINE) articles published from 1st January 2020 to 10th June 2020 will be searched using the following keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, 2019-nCoV, or novel coronavirus. Systematic review and meta-analysis will be conducted according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and the Meta-analyses Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. Articles will be screened according to the pre-specified inclusion and exclusion criteria. Included articles will be reviewed in full; data including patient demographics, clinical characteristics of COVID-19-related OD, methods of olfactory assessment, and relevant clinical outcomes will be extracted. Statistical analyses will be performed using the Comprehensive Meta-Analysis version 3.
This systematic review and meta-analysis will exclusively evaluate OD as a symptom of COVID-19 infection. We aim to collate and synthesise all available clinical evidence regarding COVID-19-related OD. A comprehensive search strategy and screening process will be used to ensure that all relevant clinical data are included for statistical analysis and representation. The outcome of this study will improve our understanding of the symptomatology and clinical characteristics of COVID-19-related OD and serves to identify knowledge gaps in its disease process, which will guide future research regarding this specific neurosensory impairment.
Systematic Review registration: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020196202