Recent research suggests that there is a chronic inflammation that destroys and damages cells in the nose. This could be the reason why some people aren’t able to get their sense of smell back after COVID-19.
The study was conducted by researchers from Duke and Harvard. Researchers from Harvard and Duke. University of California in San Diego gives a comprehensive understanding of the condition. It has affected millions of people who haven’t yet fully returned to their smell since COVID-19. The Millions Have Not Fully Recovered Their Sense of Smell After COVID-19.
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“Most sufferers have changes in their senses of smell are in the initial stage of viral infection. They will recover their sense of smell in the next 1 to 2 weeks, while some do not. Says Dr. Goldstein.
An estimated 15 million people with COVID-19 all over the world are affected by a loss of smell. This is a problem that persists even after having been free of the disease. Based on the results of the study released in the month of July 2022 in The journal BMJ.
“One of the main reasons for our research is that we don’t have a particular treatment. Effective treatment options for these types of loss of smell. There’s a huge demand for these kinds of treatments.” Goldstein states.
By using a biopsy technique (taking tiny amounts of tissue) within the olfactory portion of the nose researchers were able to look at the cells of people suffering from COVID-related loss of smell in contrast to those with normal senses, Goldstein declares. Goldstein.
Researchers examined the epithelial layers of the Olfactory system (the portion of the tissue surrounding the nose, where smell nerve cells are located) among the biopsies of 24 that included the noses of nine patients who suffered from an ongoing loss of smell due to COVID-19.
Findings May Point the Way to Potential Treatments for Long COVID Loss of Smell
“These findings offer important insight on what could cause an increase in smell in people with long-term COVID,” says Akiko Iwasaki Ph.D. Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. While Iwasaki was not part of the study, she was a part of it. Iwasaki did not participate in the study. She is the principal investigator of various studies regarding COVID that have a long time.
Understanding the parts that are affected by the smell and what cells are affected is an essential first step toward identifying solutions to improve the smell, says Goldstein. The sensory neurons seem to be able to heal after an extended, unusual immune reaction, which is an indication that researchers found to be encouraging.
Treatments that decrease the immune system’s response or enhance the process of healing in those nasal tissues that are found in the patients. They can aid to at least some degree in improving the sense of smell, as stated by the study’s researchers. One treatment option could use creams or sprays to block the inflammation-producing immune cells in the nasal lining, they wrote.
Researchers should conduct additional studies on larger numbers of people, according to Goldstein. “There are many unanswered questions about the role that these cells perform. It is important to establish if there are drug targets that can be used to address the problem,” he says.
Smell Research May Help Studies on Other Long COVID Symptoms Like Fatigue
COVID-19 can cause problems to many organs and systems in the body in a variety of ways. Loss of smell is among the indicators according to Goldstein. “We were lucky to have this tissue that we took interest in researching. The olfactory lining of the nose is easily accessible and easy to extract,” Goldstein says.
This research may prove beneficial in determining other signs of COVID that last for a long time, like fatigue. The breath is short and cognitive fog, which isn’t easily analyzed similarly to lost smell.
“Our observations about T-cells as well as irritation in the nasal area may be relevant to knowing what’s happening in the other areas of the body, which could be caused by the same biological processes,” Goldstein suggests.