Dogs Can Reliably Detect COVID-19

By: | December 12th, 2020

Image by Pixabay

Did you know that the dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than humans? We all have seen dogs sniffing out drugs, weapons, or explosives in airports and some other public places. 

Using this ability, many countries are exploring possibility of using dogs to catch a whiff of SARS-CoV-2 in our sweat. If it works, it will prove to be a rapid, reliable, and relatively cheap way to prescreen people with Covid-19.

Researchers from France and Lebanon have successfully trained six working ‘detection dogs’. These dogs are trained to detect the smell of patients who have been sickened by the novel coronavirus.

While testing, researchers found some dogs had a success rate of 76 percent. But others were correct even 100 percent of the time. 

The research is at a very early stage. But in future, dogs could probably prove to be a rapid, reliable, and cheap way to screen for COVID-19.

According to the authors of the study, “These results provide some evidence that detection dogs may be able to discriminate between sweat samples from symptomatic COVID-19 individuals and those from asymptomatic COVID-19 negative individuals,” 

“Even if trained dogs are able to correctly discriminate symptomatic Covid-19 positive individuals from asymptomatic negative ones, they should not be considered a perfect diagnostic test — but rather a complementary tool,” the study said.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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