Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Smell tests for COVID?

Via the New York Times: 

...some scientists think that a quick test consisting of little more than a stinky strip of paper might at least get us close. The test does not look for the virus itself, nor can it diagnose disease. Rather, it screens for one of Covid-19’s trademark signs: the loss of the sense of smell. 

...Daniel Larremore, an epidemiologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the study’s lead author, stressed that his team’s work was still purely theoretical. Although some smell tests are already in use in clinical and research settings, the products tend to be expensive and laborious to use and are not widely available. 

And in the context of the pandemic, there is not yet real-world data to support the effectiveness of smell tests as a frequent screen for the coronavirus. Given the many testing woes that have stymied pandemic control efforts so far, some experts have been doubtful that smell tests could be distributed widely enough, or made sufficiently cheat-proof, to reduce the spread of infection.

I think I'd rather do a smell test than a temperature screening, but it depends on the smell! (It would be interesting to know how many of the people who are described as 'asymptomatic' have mild anosmia.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm not totally up-to-date on COVID19, but the last numbers that I saw put the incidence of anosmia around 40-50%, vs. 80-90% for temperature dysregulation. Wouldn't replacing temperature screening with this really kick up the false negatives?


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20