As if their abilities were not good enough already, dogs proved amazingly successful in detecting Covid-19 with their super-sensitive sniffing.
Researchers led by Hannover University of Veterinary Medicine in Germany have trained eight German military sniffer dogs to recognise scents associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19, in human saliva and phlegm samples.
We were able to distinguish with 96 per cent precision between samples from infected patients and non-infected peoples after a week of preparation. It boiled down to 1,157 correct positive, 792 right negative rejections, and only 63 incorrect signals or rejections.
The research is considered to be a small pilot test, but the encouraging results indicate that sniffer dogs may play some role in detecting and controlling possible Covid-19 infections. The research was published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases last week.
“These preliminary findings indicating that pre-trained scent detection dogs can discriminate reliably, accurately and rapidly between samples from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients and negative controls is truly exciting. We have built a solid foundation for future studies to explore what the dogs do scent and if they can be used to discriminate also between different disease timepoints or clinical phenotypes,” Professor Holger A Volk, department chair of small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, said in a statement.
The dogs who sniff out illnesses are not a new idea. Previously, sniffer dogs were used to detect Parkinson’s disease, malaria, certain types of cancer and a number of respiratory infectious diseases.