Sheen, F., Tan, V., Lim, A. J., Haldar, S., Sengupta, S., Allen, D., … Forde, C. G. (2022). The COVOSMIA-19 trial: Preliminary application of the Singapore smell and taste test to objectively measure smell and taste function with COVID-19. Food Quality and Preference, 97, 104482. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104482
Sudden loss of smell and/or taste has been identified as an early symptom of SARS-CoV-2 2019 (COVID-19) infection, and presents an effective target for prompt self-isolation and reducing community spread. The current study sought to develop and test a novel, rapid, self-administered test to objectively measure smell and taste losses associated with COVID-19, and administered self-report questionnaires to characterise symptoms associated with COVID-19 in Singapore. Participants (N = 99) completed questionnaires to record recent changes in smell and taste ability. This was followed by the ‘Singapore Smell and Taste Test’ (SSTT), a personal, objective testing kit for daily self-assessment of smell and taste function at their place of residence. Seventy-two recruited participants were confirmed as COVID-19 positive at baseline, of which 58 completed the SSTT at home. Of these, 36.2% had objectively measured smell and/or taste loss. The SSTT measures of smell and taste function were positively associated with participants’ self-reported smell and taste acuity, and rated smell intensity of 6 common household items. This study presents the first application of the SSTT as a rapid, cost-effective, objective tool to self-monitor smell and taste function in a residential setting, and ensures comparability across individuals through the use of standardised stimuli. The SSTT has potential for future application in populations with limited access to formal COVID-19 testing as a self-administered objective method to monitor sudden changes in smell and taste, and to prompt early self-isolation, in order to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.
Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
This research / project is supported by the Biomedical Research Council Singapore (BMRC) - COVID-19 Research Fund, Development and implementation of Approaches for Tracking Chemosensory Changes as an early Marker of COVID-19 infection
Grant Reference no. : 12Al04lg1lA04