Belgian scientists tackle anosmia


Anosmia is a temporary or permanent loss of smell, either total or partial. Sometimes, this is accompanied by ageusia, loss of taste. Professor at the University of Mons and ENT surgeon at EpiCURA Hospital, Jérôme Lechien, has developed a promising treatment.

A temporary loss of smell and/or taste usually occurs with a cold or flu. With COVID-19 too, but the recovery may be far longer or incomplete there. Nearly 1 in 3 coronavirus patients still struggle with an impaired sense of smell two years later, which can also be chronic. Some odours may even be perceived differently than before. The impact on the patient's life of this olfactory neuropathy is obviously significant. Sometimes downright dangerous if, for example, you no longer recognise the smell of gas or fire as such.

Odour training and nasal rinses can provide relief. But Professor Lechien was the only person in Belgium to develop the PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) technique. In this process, after a blood centrifuge, the body's own plasma with a rich concentration of self-repairing platelets is injected into the olfactory epithelium at the top of the nose. The plasma repairs the damaged receptors of the millions of nerve cells that process odours.

As many as 81% of the 350 to 400 patients who received PRP treatment in Mons reported being able to smell very briefly again after three weeks to a month. Proof that the sense of smell is gradually returning.