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The COVOSMIA-19 trial: Preliminary application of the Singapore smell and taste test to objectively measure smell and taste function with COVID-19

  • Sheen, Florence
  • Tan, Vicki
  • Lim, Amanda Jia Ying
  • Haldar, Sumanto
  • Sengupta, Sharmila
  • Allen, David
  • Somani, Jyoti
  • Chen, Hui Yee
  • Tambyah, Paul
  • Forde, Ciarán G.
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
Wageningen University and Researchcenter Publications
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<p>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.</p>

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