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Why does a corona infection lead to some people losing their sense of taste and smell?

In a new research project, Professor Grethe Andersen from Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital is examining whether there is a correlation between acute neurological symptoms – such as e.g. the loss the sense of smell – and COVID-19 infection, and whether the infection causes damage to the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The Lundbeck Foundation supports the project with DKK 779,079.

2020.04.24 | Sabina Bjerre Hansen

Grethe Andersen.

Grethe Andersen from the Department of Clinical Medicine receives a grant from Lundbeck Foundation for her corona research. Photo: Eigil Lihn.


Clinical professor of neurology Grethe Andersen usually focuses on brain haemorrhages and blood clots in the brain and conducts research into both acute treatment and the long-term effects. However, at this time, she is particularly concerned with a possible correlation between the coronavirus and the acute neurological symptoms experienced by some patients.

With a grant from the Lundbeck Foundation, she is now in a position to investigate why some people infected with the corona virus lose their sense of taste and smell or experience other forms of nerve paralysis. The aim is to characterise different (new) neurological disease pathologies as a result of COVID-19.

Long-term effects also under the microscope

In the project, Grethe Andersen and her colleagues also examine whether the long-term effects following acute neurological diseases such as blood clots in the brain, brain haemorrhages or convulsions, are worse if the patient has been infected with COVID-19. The researchers will document any damage to the brain, spinal cord or nerves and correlate the results with the corresponding long-term effects such as e.g. reduced well-being, fatigue, depression and other functional cognitive loss in neurological patients without COVID-19.

The new research project begins on 27 April 2020, and Grethe Andersen expects to have the initial research results ready around 1 December 2020.


Professor, Consultant, DMSc Grethe Andersen
Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine and
Aarhus University Hospital, Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research Unit for Coagulation
Mobile: (+45) 28 76 90 09
Email: grethe.andersen@clin.au.dk

This coverage is partly based on press material from the Lundbeck Foundation.

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