Covid-19-Related Loss of Smell May Finally Be Treatable

Back when COVID-19 initially conquered the world, it wasn’t unusual for people to report experiencing a loss of their sense of smell.

In fact, doctors like Zara Patel, an otolaryngology professor at Stanford Medicine, figured it’d be happening, but she couldn’t have anticipated that the effects would be permanent.

Stanford Researchers May Have Developed Nasal Injections to Cure Post-Covid Loss of Smell

However, a survey from this year showed around 15% of people who experienced the loss of smell had the same symptoms almost six months after the virus left their body; the number has continued to grow.

In tandem with the loss of smell, many reported having lost their sense of taste as well; although this is to be expected considering smell plays a vital role in being able to taste food.

Patel’s team sought to solve this issue; with extensive research, they developed a treatment that uses a patient’s platelet-rich plasma, which is derived from their own blood.

Among the 26 participants, the group that received this treatment was 12.5 more likely to sense smell compared to the test group.

The injection is comprised of the liquid portion of blood, which is known to be incredibly effective in helping regenerate tissue. It’s been used for years to treat joint pain, reduce facial wrinkles, and even regrow lost hair on one’s scalp.

The importance of smelling and tasting things

This wasn’t the first time Patel worked on this research. She actually started developing this treatment back when Covid initially struck; although she pivoted the research to focus entirely on the Covid-19-related loss of smell.

All of the patients in the study reported smell loss that lasted between six and 12 months. Half of them were given platelet-rich injections deep into their nasal cavities every two weeks for a month and a half.

This allowed the researchers to assess the ability through the standard testing procedure, often called “Sniffin’ Sticks,” which includes both pleasant and unpleasant odors.

Neither the researchers nor the patients knew which group they belonged to, in order to eliminate any unnecessary bias.

However, both groups reported similar improvement in their ability to smell things, which Patel attributed to spontaneous recovery. This can happen to Covid-19 patients.

Despite this, the treatment may become revolutionary in returning this vital sense to those that lost it.

Up until the pandemic started, most of us took our sense of smell and taste for granted; only after we lost it, did we realize how important it was.

Now that the trial proved to be effective, Patel is offering these injections to any willing patients that experienced similar symptoms.

Even though there wasn’t a focus on the loss of taste, it is implied that loss of taste was closely related to one’s loss of smell.