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A Way To Prevent Loss of Smell and Taste From COVID-19? > News > Yale Medicine


Dr. Vinetz says he was originally motivated to look into camostat mesylate after he saw an April 2020 study published in Cell that showed how this medicine could prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering cells. 

Dr. Vinetz recruited several colleagues to collaborate, including Anne Spichler Moffarah, MD, PhD, an infectious diseases specialist, and Gary Desir, MD, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine. Geoffrey Chupp, MD, director of the Yale Center for Asthma and Airways Disease, ran the clinical trial.

The Phase II randomized trial enrolled 70 participants who tested positive for COVID-19 within three days of starting the study. Participants took the medicine four times a day for seven days. 

Although the trial was stopped once it was clear that the main objective of reducing viral load was not occurring, the researchers think the surprise findings about loss of smell and taste warrant additional study. 

“My daughter had COVID a year ago and she still has trouble smelling and tasting things,” says Dr. Desir. “This drug seems to be able to modulate that loss of smell and taste. It has very few side effects and has been studied extensively. This could be the type of treatment that is given to someone with COVID at the onset of the infection.” 

If the drug were to be approved for this purpose, the doctors believe it could be a game-changer. “It wouldn’t be an expensive medication. Our idea was that everyone would take it if they were diagnosed because it’s hard to predict who will lose their sense of smell or taste, and it’s better to prevent it than to wait for it to happen,” Dr. Desir says. 

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