Smell Test Project Puts H&H in the Fight Against Covid-19 Infection

Posted Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Smell Test Project Puts H&H in the Fight Against Covid-19 Infection | H&H Graphics

At H&H Graphics we have decades of expertise in the art and science of screen printing with sensory special effects like smell. It's a specialty that has brought a lot of interesting and innovative campaigns through our doors, for some of the world's best known brands.

Screen printing is the most effective process for adding scent to a wide variety of materials. Unlike offset or flexo printing, screen printing is an art that allows for a precise, customized and more concentrated application of scent. It creates clear, identifiable and long-lasting aromas that don't wear off with time.

That, and decades of experience, has put us on the radar of some of the country's leading experts in the science of smell – and smell dysfunction.

Smell Tests: A Rapid Screening Tool in the Fight Against COVID-19?

An impaired sense of smell is a common finding in neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, head trauma and Parkinson’s disease, for reasons that are not fully understood. Now a growing body of research has revealed that smell dysfunction is an early symptom of COVID-19 infection and a more effective screening criteria than fever checks.

Loss of smell and taste have been added to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list of symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection. While a smell assessment is not intended as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, there is growing interest in the smell test as a way to detect smell dysfunction that could be linked to COVID-19 infection. A study by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and King's College London recently found that loss of smell and taste was the best predictor of COVID-19 infection among commonly associated symptoms. In a recent study by researchers from Iran and the University of Pennsylvania, 96% of COVID-19 positive patients exhibited some degree of measurable smell loss.

Among its advantages, smell testing is inexpensive, easy to perform and provides immediate test results.

H&H Scent Expertise Goes to Work Against the Coronavirus

At H&H, our expertise in the field of scented printing has led to many interesting collaborations, but perhaps none so potentially important as the work we are doing with Dr. Richard Doty, the director of the University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center and founder of Sensonics International, a New Jersey-based company that produces smell and taste tests used in a wide variety of applications.

Doty is the creator of the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT), a standardized olfactory test “heralded as the olfactory equivalent to the eye chart,” according to the website for the Perelman School of Medicine. In the first study to measure the smell function of COVID-19 patients, a collaborative effort between University of Pennsylvania scientists and researchers in Iran found "solid scientific evidence" of the extent to which COVID-19 affects the ability to smell, according to research published in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.

"This pioneering study strongly suggests that quantitative olfactory tests might serve as a rapid and inexpensive diagnostic means to identify patients with COVID-19 in the general population." - Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences

With health officials, including the CDC, noting the phenomenon of smell loss among COVID-19 patients, Doty’s team at Sensonics International developed an inexpensive 8-scent smell test that can be used to quickly identify smell loss as a screening tool. A score of 5 or less on this test, which is now available on Amazon, is an indication of smell dysfunction.

Quick, Inexpensive Smell Tests Could Help in COVID-19 Prevention Efforts

While smell loss can be related to aging or other causes, the University of Pennsylvania study in Iran tested 60 confirmed coronavirus cases and found that 59 of the 60 had a demonstrable loss of smell. Many were unaware of the loss until they were tested.

The study is described as “the first empirical evidence that the ability to smell is measurably depressed in nearly all patients with confirmed COVID-19 disease.” The study “strongly suggests that quantitative olfactory tests might serve as a rapid and inexpensive diagnostic means to identify patients with COVID-19 in the general population," according to a summary.

Doty’s company, in collaboration with H&H Graphics, created the 8-item Sensonics Smell Test™ for use in identifying this potential COVID-19 biomarker. The scratch-off tests (pictured below) use a combination of eight scents with multiple-choice options for identifying them. The National Health Survey-validated tests are available to health care providers, schools, business owners and others as a quick and inexpensive means of screening for smell dysfunction.

Smell tests are also used to determine smell loss in workers whose sense of smell is critical to safety on the job, like those who must be able to detect smoke, or fumes, leaking natural gas or spoiled foods.

Scent and Multisensory Expertise for a Wide Variety of Projects

At H&H Graphics, health and safety applications are the latest in a very long line of imaginative and practical uses of our multisensory printing expertise, which also includes heat, light and water-activated printing, glow-in-the-dark inks, textured printing and a wide variety of scent applications including aromatherapy, multisensory promotions and packaging, scratch-off printing, scented recipe cards, greeting cards and even a scented map created as a promotion for a “watch and sniff” television episode.

Our scented applications begin with a library of stock and custom scents that has grown to include over 800 varieties – and counting. If you can smell it, we can create it. To learn more about how you can incorporate scent and other multisensory applications in your next project, give us a call or click on the link below.

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