Posted: April 19, 2021

Investigating Smell and Taste Loss from COVID-19

Photo: Bigstock

Photo: Bigstock

Self-reports of smell and taste changes provide earlier markers of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection than current governmental indicators, according to an international team of researchers. The researchers also observed a decline in self-reports of smell and taste changes as early as five days after lockdown enforcement, with faster declines reported in countries that adopted the most stringent lockdown measures.

"Our research suggests that an increase in the incidence of sudden smell and taste change in the general population may indicate that COVID-19 is spreading," said John Hayes, professor of food science. "This knowledge could help decision-makers take important measures at the local level, either in catching new outbreaks sooner or guiding the relaxation of local lockdowns, given the strong impact of lockdown on economic and social activities."

In their study, published in Nature Communications, the researchers used data from the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research survey, a global crowd-sourced online study deployed in more than 35 languages.

You can participate by going to the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research website.

--Sara LaJeunesse