L'olfactomètre - Institut Pasteur

Scientists from the Institut Pasteur continue the fight against COVID-19 via anosmia!

An exclusive research tool, the olfactometer, allows the Pasteur Institute and the Lariboisière Hospital to further their research in the fight against COVID-19!

The COVID-19 virus, present in our lives for more than a year, has often mutated and this is one of the reasons why it is harder for researchers to fight against it. We had all heard about B.1.1.7, better known as the “English” variant, renamed Alpha variant according to the WHO nomenclature published last June, or the variant B.1.617.2, also known as the “Indian” variant, now called the Delta variant, as mutations of the virus considered worrisome. Scientists at the Institut Pasteur have been studying these variants closely.

Supported by the Per Fumum Endowment Fund in the fight against COVID-19, the Institut Pasteur de Paris has reintroduced the use of the olfactometer in research to confront it with the study of evoked olfactory potentials in collaboration with the ENT department of functional exploration of the Lariboisière Hospital, within the framework of research for patients suffering from olfactory disorders (anosmia, hyposmia, phantosmia, etc…). Hereafter the picture on which we discover the olfactometer, connected to its EEG (electroencephalogram) recording system.

The olfactometer, thus synchronized to the patient’s breathing, allows to stimulate him with odorous molecules. Thanks to electrodes placed on the patient’s head, the electroencephalogram detects changes in neuronal electrical activity in response to the olfactory stimulus. This approach has the great advantage of being less invasive for the patient and much less expensive than an MRI scan. In the long run, it is therefore a guarantee of an easier follow-up of patients suffering from smell disorders, especially in the case of COVID-longs.

The olfactometer – Photo credit: Erwan Poivet & Institut Pasteur

Undoubtedly, the olfactometer associated with the electroencephalogram could help researchers to fight effectively against the COVID-19 virus in all its forms and de facto help patients suffering from long-lasting COVID. 

* To consult the Institut Pasteur’s modeling space: https://modelisation-covid19.pasteur.fr/

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