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Coronavirus

Trial to use rotten eggs to see if Vitamin A can help COVID-19 patients regain smell

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UK researchers are conducting a landmark trial to see if Vitamin A can help treat COVID-19 patients who experienced a loss of smell.

The Apollo trial – led by the University of East Anglia - is a new project which looks at whether Vitamin A could help people regain their sense of smell after viral infections including the coronavirus.

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Only some of the volunteer patients will receive the treatment but all will be asked to sniff powerful odors such as rotten eggs and roses, the BBC reported Thursday.

Brain scans will check if the vitamin has repaired injured olfactory pathways or “smell nerves.”

The loss of smell is a common symptom of COVID-19, but even before COVID, many viruses had been causing smell loss and distortion and while most people naturally regain their sense of smell within a couple of weeks, many have been left with on-going smell disorders.

While most people naturally regain their sense within a couple of weeks, many have been left with continuing disorders.

“We want to find out whether there is an increase in the size and activity of damaged smell pathways in patients’ brains when they are treated with vitamin-A nasal drops,” Lead researcher Prof Carl Philpott, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School and James Paget University Hospitals NHS Trust, said.

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“We will look for changes in the size of the olfactory bulb - an area above the nose where the smell nerves join together and connect to the brain… We will also look at activity in areas of the brain linked to recognizing smells.”

They hope that the study, which has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), could one-day help improve the lives of millions around the world who suffer from smell loss, by returning their fifth sense.

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