Dog’s sniff could be your next COVID-19 test: Know why

May 21, 2021 0 Comments


oi-Deepika S


New Delhi, May 21: The dogs are a ‘man’s best friend’ and they do their jobs with great speed. Humans have taken advantage of canines’ superior sense of smell for decades. Reportedly, Dogs’ noses bear 300 million scent receptors, now they can also detect Covid-19 in humans, a new study showed, paving the way for the broader use of sniffing canines in a global effort to contain the pandemic.

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The sniffer dogs are in great demand for explosives detection and have played a key role in protecting country’s security. A French study has claimed that the canines are better at tracking the novel coronavirus than most fast lateral flow tests (LFT).

The study conducted in March and April, showed that dogs were able to detect the presence of the virus with 97% accuracy and 91% of those who were negative.

“These are excellent results, comparable with those of a PCR test,” Prof Jean-Marc Tréluyer told Agence-France Presse. Tréluyer, however, added that dogs would not replace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which are significantly more reliable than LFTs.

Can dogs be used to sniff out COVID?

Dogs can sniff out coronavirus with a high degree of accuracy by detecting compounds the human body releases in secretions like sweat and saliva as it reacts to the coronavirus, according to scientists.

However, the scientists have pressed for more research is needed to answer some unresolved questions, such as whether Covid-19-sniffing dogs can be confused by other viruses or by vaccinations.

The animals could replace other COVID-19 mitigation efforts, such as PCR tests, which require a nasal or oral swab and can take days to process. It could be of greater help in mass virus screening in crowded places such as airports.

In March last year, WHo in its report said, Covid-19-sniffing dogs could complement conventional diagnostic tools because-unlike nasal swab tests, which require contact between people and waiting at least 15 minutes for a result-dogs can screen large numbers of people noninvasively in real time and at low cost.

One dog can screen 250 to 300 people a day, according to the WHO.

Story first published: Friday, May 21, 2021, 13:08 [IST]


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