JERUSALEM, April 2 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers developed an online platform that enables self-monitoring of an individual's sense of smell for detecting early signs of COVID-19, Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) reported Thursday.
Along with fever, cough and shortness of breath, many coronavirus patients report a temporary loss of their sense of smell.
Based on this symptom, WIS scientists, in collaboration with the Wolfson Medical Center, with backing from Israel's Ministry of Defense, developed the platform named SmellTracker.
The researchers previously developed a mathematical model that accurately characterizes an individual's unique sense of smell, a kind of personal "olfactory fingerprint."
On the basis of this algorithm, SmellTracker online scent test was developed, guiding users on how to map their sense of smell using five scents found in every home (spices, vinegar, toothpaste, various scent extracts, peanut butter, etc.).
The odor test lasts about five minutes and can monitor sudden changes in odor perception that may be an early indication of COVID-19.
The researchers said this tool had already successfully identified potential coronavirus cases, which were later confirmed.
Aside from personal monitoring, as more data is collected, the researchers are more likely to be able to characterize a unique olfactory fingerprint for the early detection of COVID-19.
The scientists estimate that there are currently eight active strains of the virus and believe olfactory loss may be a differentiating symptom of the various strains.