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CancelCovid campaign launches to raise awareness of lesser-known Covid-19 symptom

Alyssa Clementi

This week, MIT, King’s College, ViralGains, Mavrck, and Science Bounty launched a joint campaign to help raise awareness of a little known Covid-19 symptom: loss of smell. The CancelCovid campaign comes in two key parts: a social media challenge called #CancelCovidSmellChallenge, backed by influencer marketing agency Mavrck, and a survey conducted by ViralGains, which will gather Covid-19 data for health professionals.

“CancelCovid was formed by scientists, entrepreneurs and artists to amplify the work of doctors in stopping the spread of Covid-19,” said Tod Loofbourrow, Chairman and CEO, ViralGains. “By teaming up with individuals at MIT for our scientific survey we quickly learned that 55 per cent of Americans are unaware that sudden loss of smell is a Covid-19 symptom that they should be monitoring. One major European study called it a better predictor of Covid-19 infection than fever. This means there are ‘silent spreaders’ out there advancing the infection. We’re determined to change that.

For the #CancelCovidSmellChallenge, Mavrck focused on using influencers on the short-form video platform, Tik Tok, where the influencer will record themselves smelling something, and challenges their followers to do the same and enter the results at CancelCovid.org. The point is to help those who suddently can’t smell anymore realize they may have been infected with Covid-19, and to self-isolate immediately.

“We’re seeing significant spikes in influencers’ social media post engagement right now, so we knew it was critical to activate those influencers to drive awareness of this message,” said Lyle Stevens, CEO, Mavrck. “Utilizing our extensive index of social media influencers, we’ve been able to garner over 5.5m views within just a few weeks of launching the campaign,” said Stevens. “This clearly demonstrates the potential effect this campaign can have on educating the public and reducing the spread of Covid-19.”

“Getting the sudden loss of sense of smell listed as an official symptom of Covid-19 by health authorities in the US and UK was just the initial step in combating this virus we’re all working hard to better understand and control,” said Claire Hopkins, President of the British Rhinological Society. “I’m excited that my work is being supported and accelerated by CancelCovid through their creative campaign to educate the public about this early symptom. This will be an asset in driving awareness of loss of smell as an early symptom of Covid-19 to help prevent wider infection and even potentially help save lives.”

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