The new COVID-19 test seems to save time, money and lives through the sense of smell

With millions of Americans being tested every day for COVID-19, some are struggling with long waits for results.

But now, researchers say there is a much easier and faster way to test the virus even under the nose.

“You scratch it, you smell it, and then you have a choice of these different windows, and you choose which one,” said Derek Toomre, PhD, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine.

Toomre is part of U-Smell-It, a team that created a scratch and sniff app to determine if someone has COVID-19 through their sense of smell.

“It will be seen how good the sense of smell is and if you do very well, you will pass,” Toomre said. “And if you don’t, they’ll say, ‘Hey, you got something up.'”

Although less accurate than a COVID-19 diagnostic test, this product is much faster and less expensive. With results available in less than a minute and books costing 50 cents per pop, scientists say this scent app could outperform traditional tests at a fraction of the price.

“We’re all familiar with the idea of ​​testing people for fever as a way to find people who have COVID,” said Roy Parker, Ph.D. a professor of biochemistry at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “But that didn’t work out very well.”

Parker says that only about 20% of people with COVID-19 suffer from fever, compared to 80% of people with COVID-19 who report a loss of smell, an odor test is a much better indicator of COVID-19 infection. than a temperature control.

“It would make a big difference because you would identify people who have COVID but have symptoms so mild they don’t know them and walk around them potentially infecting other people and their families,” Park said.

While commercially available, U-Smell-It is now seeking FDA emergency approval in order to put their scratch and sniff cards in people’s hands and under their noses as quickly as possible.

“I see people saying, ‘Hey, this isn’t serious,’ and it’s okay, don’t take it seriously,” Toomre said. “Let’s try to do it and see if it works. And if you don’t smell the test and say, “Hey, there’s something up,” you know, you should isolate yourself and check. “