Researchers Develop Smell Test To Detect Asymptomatic COVID Patients

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New Delhi: Do you wonder whether you are an asymptomatic carrier of coronavirus and yet not worried enough to get tested? Well, researchers have found a way to ascertain whether or not you could be an asymptomatic patient.

A study based on smell test was conducted by researchers from National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute Mohali and the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Chandigarh. It found that COVID-19 patients were unable to smell two aromas — coconut oil and peppermint. They believe that smell test can be used to identify asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.

Who participated?

The study group consisted of 49 asymptomatic coronavirus patients and 35 individuals who were not infected with the virus. An interesting finding was that although corona-positive patients did have loss of smell, they may not lose perception of smell completely.

Method of research

As per a report in The Print, the smell test was conducted using five different types of aroma which are common in most Indian households — garlic, peppermint, cardamom, coconut oil and fennel. The aromas were filled in tubes and packed in bags, with the participants being provided a response sheet to fill whether they could detect and identify the smells or not.

A follow-up experiment was also conducted to establish findings of the test, in which the order of aromas was changed and water added in the smell test.

Results

While only 4.1 per cent of the participants were unable to identify any of the five aromas in the smell test, 38.8 per cent couldn’t identify at least one of the aromas and 16 per cent were not able to identify two odours.

Everyone in the healthy group were able to smell the aromas used in the test, whereas 14 per cent were unable to identify at least one of the odours.

Further research is required before a conclusive evidence can be reached, but researchers believe that this smell test can be conducted at home.

One needs to identify some aromas and smell them daily. This process will help detect a loss of smell, if any, and alert the person of the possibility of coronavirus.

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