The contribution of neuroscience towards understanding Covid

The contribution of neuroscience towards understanding Covid – a review of the conference of May 12,  co-hosted by Stephanie Prinet-Morou of the Per Fumum Endowment Fund, Professor Lledo and Dr. Poivet of the Perception and Memory Unit at the Pasteur Institute for SFP member perfumers.

Two years ago in July 2020 at the beginning of the Covid pandemic, with the expertise of the Pasteur Institute, the Per Fumum Endowment Fund launched a study on the ability of the virus to infect the brain on the assumption that by infecting the olfactory sensory neurons located in the nasal cavity, the virus could also penetrate the central nervous system. The researchers of the Perception & Memory Unit were the first in the world to make this hypothesis.

A year and a half after the start of the project to fight Covid through the anosmia tropism, the ETOC study has received the precious label of national priority, awarded by the ethics committee thus allowing the test protocol in routine care. “At this stage of research and discoveries on the relationship between long covid and cognitive perception, it seemed relevant and timely to share more with professionals of perfumery and olfaction” said Stephanie Prinet Morou, General Delegate of the Per Fumum Endowment Fund before passing the word  to researchers Lledo and Poivet who initiated the study.

The researchers shared with the audience several insights into the correlation between Covid and the sense of smell, based on the observation of the follow-up of normosmic and anosmic patients. The researchers told us that the virus penetrates the brain and sensory neurons. Indeed, the virus has the ability to ‘cut’ the olfactory cilia and it is this action that leads to the loss of the sense of smell. Recovery can be rapid, however, as the cilia grow back over time, as in the case of some people who regained their sense of smell only a few weeks after the infection. However, recovery can also be long, lasting from 6 months to 3 years depending on the cause and rehabilitation.

In addition, the virus has the ability to “hide” itself, so it is sometimes difficult to detect via superficial tests. Researchers have also told us that COVID can, in some cases, lead to a loss of gray matter, which would result in premature aging of the infected person.

Now that the hypothesis of a link between olfactory capacity and cognitive capacity has been proven, researchers note that in the case of Parkinson’s disease, 8% of patients experience a disorder of smell. The Per Fumum Endowment Fund is proud to support the ETOC study and will continue to support the Institut Pasteur in the development of therapeutic treatments. In the meantime, the replay of the videoconference is available upon request via the contact form.
Do not hesitate to support the ETOC study of the Pasteur Institute as well as the scientific research related to perfume and smell, crucial for the future of Perfumery, by making a donation to the Per Fum Endowment Fund, on the website www.fondsperfumum.org.

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