Evaluating the Onset, Severity, and Recovery of Changes to Smell and Taste Associated With COVID-19 Infection in a Singaporean Population (the COVOSMIA-19 Trial): Protocol for a Prospective Case-Control Study

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Evaluating the Onset, Severity, and Recovery of Changes to Smell and Taste Associated With COVID-19 Infection in a Singaporean Population (the COVOSMIA-19 Trial): Protocol for a Prospective Case-Control Study
Title:
Evaluating the Onset, Severity, and Recovery of Changes to Smell and Taste Associated With COVID-19 Infection in a Singaporean Population (the COVOSMIA-19 Trial): Protocol for a Prospective Case-Control Study
Other Titles:
JMIR Research Protocols
Keywords:
Publication Date:
31 December 2020
Citation:
Sheen, F., Tan, V., Haldar, S., Sengupta, S., Allen, D., Somani, J., ... & Forde, C. G. (2020). Evaluating the Onset, Severity, and Recovery of Changes to Smell and Taste Associated With COVID-19 Infection in a Singaporean Population (the COVOSMIA-19 Trial): Protocol for a Prospective Case-Control Study. JMIR research protocols, 9(12), e24797.
Abstract:
Background: Sudden loss of smell and/or taste has been suggested to be an early marker of COVID-19 infection, with most findings based on self-reporting of sensory changes at a single time point. Objective: To understand the onset, severity, and recovery of sensory changes associated with COVID-19 infection, this study will longitudinally track changes in chemosensory acuity among people with suspected COVID-19 infection using standardized test stimuli that are self-administered over 28 days. Methods: In a prospective, case-controlled observational study, volunteers will be recruited when they present for COVID-19 screening by respiratory tract polymerase chain reaction test (“swab test”). The volunteers will initially complete a series of questionnaires to record their recent changes in smell and taste ability, followed by a brief standardized smell and taste test. Participants will receive a home-use smell and taste test kit to prospectively complete daily self-assessments of their smell and taste acuity at their place of residence for up to 4 weeks, with all data submitted for collection through web-based software. Results: This study has been approved by the Domain Specific Review Board of the National Healthcare Group, Singapore, and is funded by the Biomedical Research Council Singapore COVID-19 Research Fund. Recruitment began on July 23, 2020, and will continue through to March 31, 2021. As of October 2, 2020, 69 participants had been recruited. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study will be the first to collect longitudinal data on changes to smell and taste sensitivity related to clinically diagnosed COVID-19 infection, confirmed by PCR swab test, in a population-based cohort. The findings will provide temporal insights on the onset, severity, and recovery of sensory changes with COVID-19 infection, the consistency of symptoms, and the frequency of full smell recovery among patients with COVID-19. This self-administered and cost-effective approach has many advantages over self-report questionnaire–based methods and provides a more objective measure of smell and taste changes associated with COVID-19 infection; this will encourage otherwise asymptomatic individuals who are potential spreaders of the virus to self-isolate and seek formal medical diagnosis if they experience a sudden change in sensory acuity. This broadened case finding can potentially help control the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce the emergence of clusters of infections.
License type:
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Funding Info:
This research / project is supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research - Biomedical Research Council COVID-19 Research Fund
Grant Reference no. : 12Al04lg1lA04
Description:
ISSN:
1929-0748