Why Is It So Hard to Study Covid-Related Smell Loss?

September 25, 2020

(Wired) – Traditionally, researchers would bring their subjects into the lab and measure their powers of smell using scientifically-validated tools like an olfactometer, a device that delivers precise amounts of scents to the subject’s nose, or a scratch and sniff booklet called the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT) that requires subjects to smell a scent and correctly identify it from among four choices. But thanks to the pandemic, many labs are closed and patients cannot come in for screenings. Even if they could bring people in, the tests Hayes would normally use can’t easily be adapted for Covid-19 research.