Scientists from nearly 40 countries have joined forces to launch a worldwide survey to gather evidence about a connection between a sudden loss of smell and COVID-19.
There is growing expert opinion that the large surge in reports of anosmia – a loss of smell and sometimes taste – suggests that it is a marker for the virus even in the absence of other symptoms.
The scientists believe data collected in the survey – which has gone live in English today, and will shortly be rolled out in multiple languages – will help to unravel how the virus is transmitted and how to prevent its spread.
The study is being carried out by the Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) which is made up of over 500 clinicians, neurobiologists, data scientists, cognitive scientists, sensory researchers and technicians from 38 countries. The group was set up in response to the wave of cases of anosmia and potential connection with COVID-19.
Chrissi Kelly, founder of anosmia patient support charity AbScent, is a member of the GCCR leadership team. “It’s vital that sufficient data is gathered to demonstrate that this is another symptom,” she said.
GCCR member Simon Gane, ENT surgeon at the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital in London and AbScent trustee, is already advising people to self-isolate if they suddenly lose their sense of smell.
Both he and AbScent are also urging the UK government to recognise anosmia as a symptom of COVID-19.
Clinicians and individuals are invited to complete the survey, which can be found here: https://t.co/ZVeMFyGDma
The Global Consortium for Chemosensory Research (GCCR) leadership team includes:
John Hayes, PhD, Penn State, USA; Thomas Hummel, MD, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany; Chrissi Kelly, Founder, AbScent.org, UK; Steve Munger, PhD, University of Florida, USA; Masha Niv, PhD, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Kathrin Ohla, PhD, Research Center Jülich, Germany; Valentina Parma, PhD, Temple University, USA; Danielle Reed, PhD, Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA, and Maria Veldhuizen, PhD, Mersin University, Turkey.