Pune’s IISER, Sassoon to study loss of smell as key virus symptom
PUNE Loss of smell has been recently identified as one of the symptoms for Covid-19 (coronavirus) and to further study the symptom, Pune’s Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and BJ Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital (SGH) are collaborating on a study to assess if early detection of olfactory dysfunctions can be used as a screening method for Covid-19 patients.
A team headed by Dr Nixon Abraham and a team from Sassoon will circulate a questionnaire with a test for the sense of smell. The test will be simple and can be done by anybody with simple substances around them.
Since it is a diagnostic method, the questionnaire will be shared among people who could be possible suspects and based on a harmless test of smell, the study would be concluded.
Dr Tatyarao Lahane, director, Medical Education and Research, Maharashtra, which heads Sassoon, said, “Such a study is going on at many places, including Pune’s Sassoon and at Nagpur and Mumbai. However, it is too early to speak about it.”
Deepak Mhaisekar, Pune divisional commissioner, said, “It is globally known that losing the sense of smell is one of the first symptoms in any Covid-19 patient. At least 80 per cent of confirmed patients are known to lose their sense of smell first and then taste.”
IISER is also researching on various other projects related to Covid-19 which include to develop a synthetic biology-based solution and diagnostic test, to make an ultra-sensitive nano biosensor platform for field-effect, transistor-based point-of-care detection, synthesis of oligonucleotide probes for Covid-19 detection, to develop peptide-based diagnostics, exploring S-protein epitopes for the detection of Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19 and to develop fluorescence-based peptide diagnostics without secondary antibodies.
The institute also hopes to develop a carbon nanotube (CNT)-based surveillance diagnostic tool for detecting the Sars-Cov-2 virus that causes Covid-19, which is in the planning phase.