U.K. researchers announced Tuesday that they are studying whether vitamin A nasal drops could effectively treat loss or altered sense of smell in patients who had contracted COVID-19.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and James Paget University Hospital will start a 12-week clinical trial giving participants either vitamin A or placebo nasal drops, according to the study. If successful the treatment will repair nasal tissue that was damaged by the virus.
“The huge rise in smell loss caused by COVID-19 has created an unprecedented worldwide demand for treatment,” Carl Philpott, professor at UEA’s Norwich Medical School and James Paget University Hospitals National Health Service Trust, said.
Philpott discusses the impacts of smell loss, including depression, anxiety, a loss of appetite, and the potential of consuming spoiled food.
While undergoing brain scans, participants of the study will smell various scents such as roses and rotten eggs. Philpott explained. The scans will help determine if the nerves that affect smell have been repaired.
Roughly 1 in 10 COVID-19 patients who lost their sense of smell are not fully recovered four weeks post-infection. Philpott said he believes “the lack of proven effective treatments.” is a real problem.
A German study found that those treated with vitamin A recovered twice the amount of their sense of smell as compared with those who did not use the treatment, according to Philpott.