The Smell in COVID-19 Infection: Diagnostic Opportunities

Paula David, Yehuda Shoenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: There is a high prevalence of olfaction changes, especially in the early presentation, in COVID-19 patients. The mechanisms through which the virus leads to anosmia/hyposmia is still not fully understood. However, olfaction changes could be used as an indication for testing or quarantine. Screening for infections and other diseases by recognizing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been previously conducted. Hence, if the coronavirus infection also results in VOCs excretion, physicians could "smell" the virus by using electronic noses. We conducted a literature review on olfaction changes and the COVID-19. Our results suggest that these changes could be used an indication for early testing, even as an isolated symptom. We propose that the electronic nose be used as a future screening tool, especially in agglomeration spaces such as airports, for screening for the COVID-19 infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-403
Number of pages3
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020


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