The University of East Anglia (UEA) said research from Germany has shown the potential benefit of the vitamin, and its team “will explore how this treatment works to help repair tissues in the nose damaged by viruses”.
It comes after an international group of experts advised against the use of steroids to treat smell loss, instead suggesting “smell training”.
Instead, they have “potential side effects including fluid retention, high blood pressure, and problems with mood swings and behaviour”, he said.
One of the experts, Professor Carl Philpott from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said there was “very little evidence” steroids will help with smell loss.
The “Apollo trial” will treat people who have experienced a loss of smell or altered sense of smell because of coronavirus using vitamin A nasal drops.
They hope the trial “could one day help improve the lives of millions around the world who suffer from smell loss, by returning their fifth sense”.
Scientists recommended sniffing at least four different odours, twice daily, for several months.
Prof Philpott said this method “aims to help recovery based on neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to reorganise itself to compensate for a change or injury”.
Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker Those interested in participating in the university’s vitamin A study are asked to seek a referral from their GP to the Smell and Taste Clinic at the James Paget Hospital in Norfolk’s Great Yarmouth.
The study, which is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research, will begin recruiting participants in December.