Covid screening: yes, dogs are able to sniff out the virus

The first results of a study underway for a few months in New Aquitaine demonstrates the effectiveness of dog flair in detecting Covid-19.

In August 2021, dogs had already been recruited to try to smell Covid-19 in elderly people in nursing homes, as part of a study called Salicov AP-HP. Another study, called Cynocov, was already underway, which has just revealed its first results. This study, coordinated by the CHU of Bordeaux, the National Veterinary School of Alfort and Ceva Santé Animale, confirms that dogs can be trained in the detection of covid-19.

On the same subject

On January 4, 2021, five detector dogs began the training phase at the rate of 4 mornings per week. They learned to distinguish, by olfactory difference, samples from people with Covid 19 at the start of infection, neutral samples or samples from uncontaminated people.

Then the dogs moved on to practice. 300 people were tested, between the months of February and June 2022. Among them, 100 positive for the virus and 200 negative, according to their PCR tests. Of the samples of their sweat were taken with compresses, under their armpits and in their neck in particular.

Objective: to use dogs in Ehpad or kindergarten

Then the dogs had to go smell the samples. And this is the whole advantage of this technique, which is not invasive in terms of sampling and which does not require dogs to sniff patients… After comparing the reactions of the dogs and the PCRs, the scientists realized that the screening was reliable at 80% on quick withdrawalsand 90% for longer samples.

What follows from this discovery? The High Council of Public Health will have to decide on the future strategy on screening via canine brigades. They could be used for community living spaces, such as kindergartens, or retirement homes. The final results of the study will be published at the end of July.

Source : Dogs trained to detect Covid-19 in New AquitaineBordeaux University Hospital, July 2022

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