Vitamin A nasal drops to be trialled as method to restore sense of smell to COVID sufferers

New research suggests that vitamin A could cure the loss of smell that some people have experienced following a bout of COVID-19.

A study from Germany (conducted by the University of East Anglia) has hypothesised that vitamin A drops, when inserted nasally, could repair the damaged tissue in the nose caused by COVID-19.

The University of East Anglia will be holding a 12 week long “Apollo trial” for this cure and will begin recruiting volunteers in December. The study is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Anyone who would like to participate in the Apollo trial should contact their GP and obtain a referral for the smell and taste clinic in James Paget Hospital, which is located in Great Yarmouth.


Roughly 20% of people who have contracted COVID-19 have suffered a long-term loss of their sense of smell, with most people recovering it shortly after their bodies have fended the virus off.

It can also leave you with Parosmia, which permanently distorts your sense of smell and can render you unable to taste or enjoy any food. Some have reported that strong or even mild smells can cause them nausea and vomiting with this condition.

As well as this, COVID-19 can also bring on Anosmia, which causes you to lose your sense of smell entirely. Of course, COVID-19 isn’t the only way to lose your sense of smell. Other infections can also cause this - for example, the flu.

Other theoretical methods of restoring a lost sense of smell as a result of COVID-19 have included “smell training” and taking controlled doses of steroids.

While the latter theory has been criticised due to the risk that taking steroids poses, including violent outbursts and high blood pressure, the idea of “smell training” has received support.

“Smell training” involves smelling strong odours twice a day, both pleasant and unpleasant (for example, perfume and rotten cheese). This could potentially allow the damage in the nose to be ameliorated, or even completely healed, through the process of neuroplasticity. This enables the brain to reorganise how it functions to make up for any damage in the body.