NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Remember scratch and sniff stickers? Researchers are using that same idea to develop a new type of COVID-19 test.
It's one of the most common symptoms of covid-19: loss of smell
"Some of them experience quite severe smell loss, and it comes on very suddenly," said Dr. Rick Gerkin with Arizona State University.
Which gave researchers at ASU a thought. What if you could develop a smell-test that could indicate if you've come down with the coronavirus?
"For testing for COVID we really want this to be really fast, really cheap and accessible to everyone," Dr. Gerkin said.
The self-test ASU is developing has different concentrations of a certain smell.
"It's just like reading like the eye chart, right? What's the lowest line you can read? So, what's the lowest concentration you can smell?” Dr. Gerkin said.
It might seem like an obvious thing, but as it turns out, people aren't all that good at realizing they've lost their smell.
"If you take people into a lab and assess their sense of smell, a large number of people who think they smell just fine, they don't smell well at all,” Dr. Gerkin said.
And while the smell-test isn't a substitute for a COVID-19 saliva or nasal test, researchers hope it'll be useful in rural and underserved communities.
"Having something that's pretty good, and very fast, and very cheap and can be done often, can beat something that's expensive and hard to reach,” Dr. Gerkin said.
This new smell test should hit the market in the next few months.