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Research provides hope to those experiencing long-term loss of smell due to COVID-19

Research provides hope to those experiencing long-term loss of smell due to COVID-19

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University are developing a treatment for people who have lost their smell due to COVID-19.

What is anosmia? Anosmia is known as loss or change of smell and it can alter or take away the taste of food. The issue can lead to a loss of interest in food, which could potentially lead to other health problems, according to WebMD.

  • study published by the JAMA Network shows that 1.5 million people in the U.S. have experienced the long-term loss of smell after being infected with COVID-19.

What causes loss of smell? When infected, the coronavirus does not actually attack the nerve cells that detect the smell. However, the virus attacks the supporting cells that are lining the nasal cavity.

  • The infected cells shed and die, as immune cells rush to the area to fight the virus. The inflammation of cells blocks the smell receptors from functioning properly, according to a study published in Cell.

How is it being treated? Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University are using platelet-rich plasma as a restorative therapy to regenerate olfactory cells.

  • The process dissolves plasma from a patient’s blood and then implants it into the nose. The goal is to repair the cells that might have been damaged due to a COVID-19 infection, stated ABC News.
  • The process is administered in monthly applications for a minimum of three months. The research is currently in the first phase, the scientists involved are planning to expand the research to focus on patients who are experiencing long-term loss of smell due to COVID-19, according to Jefferson University.

Does it work? Although the research is in an early phase, participants are reporting an improvement in symptoms.

  • “Losing my smell and taste from COVID has been life-changing. I felt like I was missing a part of myself. … Fortunately, the treatments provided by Thomas Jefferson University Hospital are improving my symptoms and showing signs of progress. For the first time in a long time, I have hope for getting my life back to normal,” said Nancy A. Damato, a participant in the study.

 

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