Dutch Scientists Train Bees to Detect People Infected With COVID-19

By: | May 7th, 2021

Did you know Bees have an incredible sense of smell, being able to detect a flower from miles away? Scientists are using bees’ acute sense of smell to detect coronavirus. Researchers have trained bees to extend their tongues on sensing a person infected with COVID-19.

According to the researchers, this method could prove to be very useful in developing countries that lack basic diagnostic tools.

Start-up InsectSense and Wageningen Bioveterinary Research have trained bees to detect those infected with the coronavirus. The team said they can train bees in a matter of minutes to identify the scent of samples infected with SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the virus that spreads covid-19.

In this project, researchers conditioned about 150 bees using the Pavlov method. Every time a bee was exposed to the virus, it was rewarded with sugar water. So, the bees learned to stick out their tongues every time they smell the coronavirus on a swab.

Coronavirus, like other diseases, causes metabolic changes in the body, releasing some odors. Bees and dogs have a highly developed sense of smell. So, they can sense the smell. According to Scientists trained bees take only a few seconds to identify odors.

Nidhi Goyal

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

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