Standardized Testing Demonstrates Altered Odor Detection Sensitivity and Hedonics in Asymptomatic College Students as SARS-CoV-2 Emerged Locally
Aerosol droplets have emerged as the primary mode of SARS-Cov-2 transmission and can be spread by infectious asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic persons rendering indicators of latent viral infection essential. Olfactory impairment is now a recognized symptom of COVID-19 and is rapidly becoming one of the most reliable indicators of the disease. We compared olfaction data from asymptomatic students, who were assessed as SARS-CoV-2 was unknowingly spreading locally, to students tested prior to the arrival of the virus. This study was naturalistic by design as testing occurred in the context of four research studies, all of which used the same inclusion/exclusion criteria and the same protocol to objectively assess odor detection, identification, and hedonics with physiological tests. Data from students (Cohort II; N=22) with probable SARS-CoV-2 exposure were compared to students tested just prior to local virus transmission (Cohort I; N=25), and a normative sample of students assessed over the previous four years (N=272). Students in Cohort II demonstrated significantly reduced odor detection sensitivity compared to students in Cohort I (t=2.60; P=.01; d=0.77; CI, 0.17, 1.36), with a distribution skewed towards reduced detection sensitivity (D=0.38; P=.005). Categorically, the exposed group was significantly more likely to have hyposmia (OR=7.74; CI, 3.1, 19.40), particularly the subgroup assessed in the final week before campus closure (OR=13.61; CI, 3.40, 35.66;). The exposed cohort also rated odors as less unpleasant (P<.001, CLES=0.77). A limitation of our study is that participants were not tested for COVID-19 as testing was unavailable in the area. Objective measures of olfaction may detect olfactory impairment in asymptomatic persons who are otherwise unaware of smell loss. The development of cost-effective, objective olfaction tests that could be self-administered regularly could aid in early detection of SARS-CoV-2 exposure, which is vital to combating this pandemic.
- Downloaded 829 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 34,637
- In infectious diseases: 2,678
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 33,133
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 48,309
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 27 Nov 2020: The website and API now include results pulled from medRxiv as well as bioRxiv.
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!