Smartphone app shows loss of taste and smell a strong predictor of COVID-19

Loss of smell and taste is a strong indication that someone has COVID-19 and it should be included in screening guidelines for the sickness, according to new research.

The study examined data from a smartphone app that more than 3 million people in the U.K. and U.S. have used to log their symptoms.

“It’s clear we understand very little about COVID, and we need to try to fill in a lot of gaps with respect to understanding the disease: who is susceptible to getting infected, the symptoms people develop related to COVID, and ultimately where around the country people were getting sick,” said study co-author Andrew Chan in a June 1, 2020 Harvard Gazette article.

Chan, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, added that that data from the smartphone app can identify the onset of symptoms in an area about five days before requests for COVID tests spike.“It gives people really critical planning time they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” he said.

Read the Harvard Gazette article: Loss of taste and smell is best indicator of COVID-19, study shows