Researchers develop scratch and sniff test to help diagnose those with COVID-19

Posted at 3:22 PM, Dec 16, 2020

Scratch and sniff stickers have gone high tech, becoming another way to test for coronavirus.

Researchers at the University of Colorado and Yale University have developed a “u-Smell-it” test that works with an app.

Essentially, users will use a high-tech scratch and sniff to detect whether they've lost their sense of smell.

“There's five windows and they have different odors on each of them. Basically, all you have to do is take an app on your phone, and you basically scan the card. It has a QR code, and it recognizes the unique combination of odors. This is really important because you want the test to be different every time,” said Derek Toomre, professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.

The user will choose the corresponding odors. And after, they're done. The app will give them a score on how well they did or didn't do.

This test isn't meant to replace the PCR test or antibody tests that are approved by the FDA.

“This would be a supplement. This would not be to replace. This would be a supplement so that, if you failed to smell, then you would know to go in for an antigen or PCR test, but you're more likely to be positive on those tests, so it would actually be really, really helpful. Think of it as a pretest.”

Researchers behind the “u-Smell-it” test hope that it will help with the current testing shortage. Right now, they are seeking FDA approval for emergency use. If approved, they'll be making the tests at a larger scale.