University of Florida neuroscientists to study at-home smell tests that could help identify COVID-19

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 5:22 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - University of Florida neuroscientists are developing at-home smell tests to help identify COVID-19 cases.

The UF team has collaborated with Penn State University and Arizona State University. They just received a $912,000 CARES ACT grant to fund the study.

Neuroscientists will look at two different scratch and sniff smell tests.

“Assessing their ability to smell might be a good way to get an early assessment of the rise of COVID in that individual, or it may be in a population, like a community, apartment complex, a dormitory, a workplace,” UF Center for Smell and Taste Director and Principal Investigator Steven Munger, Ph.D. said.

The first test will ask volunteers to identify what the smell is such as chocolate, strawberries, onions, and smoke. The second will test how sensitive someone is to different concentrations of the same smell.

“So the two tests we’re using are to assess different aspects of the way you process smells and the reason we are doing two different tests is because we don’t know which might be the best predictor of COVID 19,” Munger said.

Munger also said more than 3,000 volunteers will take the test weekly for six weeks.

The UF team is hoping to begin this study in January.

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