App reveals loss of taste, smell coronavirus indicators

Tuesday, June 2, 2020 - 18:30 in Health & Medicine

This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring. Though fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the symptoms most commonly associated with COVID-19 infection, a recent study in which 2.6 million people used a smartphone app to log their symptoms daily showed that the most oddball pair of indicators — loss of smell and taste — was also the best predictor, and one that scientists said should be included in screening guidelines. Researchers, led by scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and King’s College London, began the study as a way to fill the numerous gaps in knowledge about COVID-19, several of which are the result of the lack of broad-based clinical testing. Using crowdsourcing, they were able to rapidly gather data on the disease’s spread...

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