Can photobiomodulation restore anosmia and ageusia induced by COVID-19? A pilot clinical study

J Biophotonics. 2023 Mar 16;e202300003. doi: 10.1002/jbio.202300003. Online ahead of print.


Along with other COVID-19 clinical manifestations, management of both olfactory and gustatory dysfunction have drawn a considerable attention. Photobiomodulation (PBM) has emerged to be a possible effective therapy in restoring taste and smell functionality, but the evidence is scarce. Hence, the present pilot study is aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of intranasal and intraoral PBM administrations in management of anosmia and ageusia respectively. Twenty Caucasian subjects who diagnosed with anosmia and ageusia were recruited. Visual analogue scale was utilised to evaluate patients' self-reported for both olfactory and gustatory functionality. The laser-PBM parameters and treatment protocols for anosmia and ageusia were as follows respectively: 660 nm, 100 mW, two points intranasally, 60 J/session, 12 sessions; dual wavelengths (660 nm and 808 nm), 100 mW, three points intraorally, 216 J/session, 12 sessions. Our results showed a significant functionality improvement of both olfactory and gustatory functionality. Extensive studies with large data and long-term follow-up period are warranted.

Keywords: COVID-19 disease; SARS-CoV-2; gustatory perception; low-level laser therapy; molecular mechanism; olfactory perception; oxidative stress; photobiomodulation.