A cheap and reliable new means of testing a person’s sense of smell could revolutionise screening for conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Covid-19, scientists said yesterday.

Since the 1980s, “scratch and sniff” cards have been the gold standard for identifying hyposmia (where the ability to smell is diminished) or anosmia (where it disappears completely).

The cards have been used to investigate neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s as well as respiratory infections such as Covid, where a loss of smell is common.

However, the most widely used scratch and sniff test, the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, is expensive, costing about £20 per person, making it ill-suited for large screening programmes.

A new, much cheaper, version presents users with half a dozen separate aromas

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