Researchers develop a take-home COVID-19 'scratch-and-sniff' test

By KYW Newsradio

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Researchers at Pennsylvania State University are developing a take-home "scratch-and-sniff" COVID-19 test.

Loss of smell is one of the most baffling symptoms of COVID-19, and John Hayes, director of the Sensory Evaluation Center at Penn State, said although loss of smell isn't present in all positive cases, studies show that 40% to 70% of people with the virus experience it.

So Hayes and his team are working to bring awareness to this unusual aspect of the virus with a self administered smell test.

“For that we have a little smell card that has a peel and sniff panel on it. Like scratch and sniff but better technology,” he explained.

This will hopefully act as a warning sign in time to thwart it.

The test asks users to identify odors such as smoke, strawberry, chocolate and onions. Then another part of the test works to reveal sensitivity to different concentrations of the same odor.

Hayes said the cards don’t diagnose whether or not you have COVID-19, but the tests are about recognizing a change.

The cards have been approved by the university for distribution in February. The next step is further evaluation by federal researchers for approval.

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