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Dogs can be trained in weeks to detect a COVID-19 infection

According to recent research, dogs can be trained in weeks to detect COVID-19 infections. This accuracy is comparable to a nasal and throat swab test.

In spring 2020, four dogs were trained to detect the virus by University of Helsinki.

Animals that were previously trained to detect drugs or dangerous goods or cancer sniffed skin samples from 114 people who had tested positive and 306 who had tested negative.

The study revealed that they were able detect the virus with 92% accuracy.


They also participated in a trial in which they snorted the samples of 303 passengers arriving at Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport from September 2020 to April 2021.

They correctly identified negative samples in 296 of 300 negative tests and three positive cases were also identified as negative.

This is one of many studies that examine the detection of COVID-19 by dogs. A clinic in Germany has trained canines to detect the virus in saliva. In Thailand, a study trained dogs to detect the volatile organic compound in sufferers’ sweat.

More information on Covid-19

Scientists believe that dogs can be used to detect viruses early in a pandemic, when there are no other options.

They could be used to help contain an existing pandemic.

The researchers wrote in BMJ Global Health that dogs could be used in both high-prevalence sites like hospitals (to screen patients and staff) as well as low-prevalence sites such as ports or airports (to screen passengers).

However, the dogs were not as successful in identifying the alpha variant because they had been trained to recognize the wild type.

Researchers stated that this observation was remarkable because it proved the strength of the dogs’ discriminatory abilities.

“The obvious conclusion is that all variants of epidemiological significance should be included in training samples.

“Our preliminary observations indicate that dogs infected with one type of virus can be trained to recognize its variants within a matter of hours.”


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