Recent research related to the COVID-19 pandemic revealed some breakthrough findings. These findings may help provide answers to urgent questions about COVID-19–who is more liable to get infected, the prognosis of the COVID-19 infection, and duration of symptoms. This is due to the phenomenal efforts of Dr. Henry Barham and his team.
Dr. Henry Barham has conducted research on the bitter taste receptors (T2Rs) and found an association between one’s genetic expression of T2Rs and the immune response to COVID-19. So, if you’ve been following this exciting news, you’ve probably wondered: Am I a supertaster? Or at least a taster? Or do I fall into the non-taster group? It’s now easy to get this information about yourself with an easy, at-home test you can do yourself.
What’s the best supertaster test to get?
If you google “supertaster test,” you’ll come up with a bunch of options. How do you know which one will give you the best results in relation to COVID-19? You would probably prefer to use the one that has shown effective results in scientific research on patients during the COVID-19 pandemic–one that shows consistent results in detecting who is more likely to get infected, who will have better outcomes, and who is likely to require hospitalization once infected.
As a rhinologist (an ENT doctor that specializes in nose and sinus diseases), Dr. Barham came in contact with many infected patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He wondered why he didn’t contract COVID-19 as he was working so closely with very sick patients, including those in intensive care units. He thought it might have something to do with the T2Rs.
Dr. Barham has been interested in T2Rs and their relationship to upper respiratory infections for many years. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, he and his team focused their time and effort into finding a correlation between the T2Rs and COVID-19.
Dr. Barham and his team completed two studies, one retrospective and one prospective, to determine if that was the case. His findings were astounding and helped to explain why some individuals get sick enough to require hospital admission, while others showed only minor symptoms–even if they were all living in the same household.
Their results also provide an explanation as to why the elderly population seems to do worse than their younger counterparts.
How Do I Take the Test?
To see if you’re a supertaster, order the kit online. You’ll receive a kit with three taste tests. The kit will include 12 unique taste test strips. You’ll place each of the strips on your tongue and record your quality and intensity ratings online. You’ll receive your results immediately.
Does My Supertaster Status Only Matter for COVID-19?
No! Your supertaster status can be linked to many other upper respiratory infections and how you respond to them. The Phenomune test package also includes a three-week educational program to teach you about your innate immune system and how to boost it.
Discovering your supertaster status gives you the information you need to make good decisions during this time of COVID-19. For example, perhaps you’ve been wondering if you should get vaccinated. Finding out that you are a non-taster who is likely to experience significant symptoms with COVID-19 could help you make that decision. Knowing this information about people could be helpful in prioritizing who should be vaccinated first, especially in places where there is still a shortage of vaccines. This can also be applied to other upper respiratory tract infections and vaccinations, such as influenza.
Other scientific studies are currently being done to see if T2Rs can be linked to other health issues such as different types of cancers and obesity. Getting more information about yourself and learning about your immune system is always a good idea, so if you’re interested in finding out your supertaster status, check into the Phenomune test.
Henry P. Barham, MD
Dr. Barham is a board-certified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician who works as a dedicated rhinologist (nose, sinus, allergy, endoscopic sinus, and skull base surgery) at Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, LLC. He is also a widely published researcher with over 100 publications and book chapters throughout his career.
Mohamed A. Taha, MD
Dr. Taha is a consultant physician of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) at the Faculty of Medicine - Cairo University, where he got his MD degree in 2019. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Sinus and Nasal Specialists of Louisiana, LLC. Dr. Taha has published many studies in ENT, mainly about COVID-19. His latest publication linking bitter taste receptors to COVID-19 (published in JAMA) showed interesting results.