COVID-19 Detection: German Study Claims That Dogs Can Be Trained To Detect SARS-CoV-2 Infections With Almost 94 percent Accuracy
: According to a new German study led by researchers from University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, trained dogs can sniff out coronavirus infections.
The research team said that dogs have smell receptors up to 10,000 times more powerful and accurate than humans. That allows certain trained dogs to sniff out diseases like cancer, malaria and viral infections.
A Reluctant Candidate
The new study which was piloted by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, the Hannover Medical School and the German Armed Forces found that, if properly trained, dogs were able to discriminate between human saliva samples infected with SARS-CoV-2 and non-infected samples with a 94% success rate overall.
The research findings were published in the journal: BMC Infectious Diseases. https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-020-05281-3
The study team hopes is this method of detection could be one day be used in public areas such as airports, sporting events and other mass gatherings (in addition to laboratory testing) to help prevent future Covid-19 outbreaks, according to researchers.
In order to conduct the study, researchers trained eight dogs from Germany’s Armed Forces for one week. The trained dogs sniffed the saliva of more than 1,000 people that were either healthy or infected with the virus. Samples infected with Covid-19 were distributed at random and neither the dog handlers nor the researchers on site knew which ones were positive.
Professor Maren von Koeckritz-Blickwede, who conducted the study, says their research thinks dogs are able to do this because the metabolic processes of an infected person “completely change.”
She added, “We think that the dogs are able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients.”
Although more research is still needed, Von Koeckritz-Blickwede says the next step is to train dogs to differentiate Covid-19 samples from other diseases like influenza.
The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that dogs can get infected with Covid-19, but there is no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus just yet.
Thailand Medical News would like to highlight the impractically of using dogs to detect COVID-19 infections in humans as there is a very high risk that these dogs could get infected and also they could pass the virus to other non-infected individuals. When detecting a pathogen in another living thing, we should avoid using a biological living medium to do that task!
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