Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, is currently being tested in Belgium in the treatment of patients with anosmia, a loss of smell sometimes caused by Covid-19.
- More than half of people infected with Covid-19 lose their sense of smell.
- Anosmia has significant consequences on daily life.
- Treatment with platelet-rich plasma would improve symptoms within a few weeks.
About 60% of people with Covid-19 suffer from anosmia, according to the Foundation for Medical Research (FRM). This loss of sense of smell is usually temporary, but for around 10% of those affected, it persists for six months after infection. Several researchers are working on treatments to treat them and allow them to regain this precious sense. This is the case of Professor Jérôme Lechien, who practices in France and Belgium. This specialist in the loss of smell is studying the track of PRP, treatment with platelet-rich plasma, and the first tests are conclusive.
Anosmia: a disabling loss of smell
Anosmia is not only linked to Covid-19, it can also be caused by a cold. But whatever its origin, it has important consequences on daily life. “This sense is particularly central for food or the detection of dangers (toxic foods, inhalation of chemicals), remind her FRM. Thus, anosmia is very often associated with loss of appetite and depression.”
PRP: what is this promising treatment for anosmia?
Today, the loss of smell linked to Covid-19 is generally cured by nose washes and olfactory training, sometimes corticosteroids can be prescribed. However, this does not work for all patients. According to Professor Jérôme Lechien, treatment with platelet-rich plasma could be a new lead. This method is already used, especially among top athletes, in the event of recurrent tendonitis or joint disorders. “The PRP technique could be a promising solution, in addition to existing therapies such as olfactory training and nasal irrigation“, he explains to the RTBF. It consists of taking a person’s blood, then centrifuging it to keep only the platelets, because they allow regeneration. Then the PRP is injected into the nose, during an operation, so that it reaches the areas where the receptors are damaged. “By injecting the platelet concentrate, we promote regeneration and people recover their sense of smell faster.”develops this specialist.
Treatment of anosmia with PRP: successful trials in Belgium
In the United States, the results of a study published in August 2022 demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique in a small group of patients. Out of 52 people, the 26 who received this treatment were 12 times more likely to recover their sense of smell. In Belgium, Professor Lechien led a trial with more than 350 people. “Our European study shows that people in whom we inject PRP recover faster than people in whom we do nothing.he says to the RTBF. 81% of participants observed an improvement in their sense of smell after three weeks to six months. “Most people feel a positive effect after three weeks, which usually manifests as the ability to smell, for a split second, odors they no longer smelledsays the specialist. That’s the sign that it’s being recovered.“For the time being, the treatment is not available in France.
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