Numerous examinations and tests have been carried out on sniffer dogs since the appearance of Covid19 in Europe. Back in March 2020, the UK claimed that dogs could detect the coronavirus. Since February 12, dogs have been trained in screening for coronaviruses at the National Veterinary School in Maisons-Alfort (94).
A new study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine claims that dogs can detect SARS-Cov2 in human urine. Trained dogs could therefore, as they can do with cancer, determine a positive effect on Covid19. The study published in the journal Plos One even confirms that the detection accuracy would be 96% …
A result that is almost similar to an antigen test. The High Authority of Health, which displays a clinical sensitivity of at least 80% and a clinical specificity of at least 99%, explains the life science of the site.
The study in question
Detection dogs have already entered Dubai Airport, but can detect the virus in sweat or body odor. By detecting it in urine, simple collection would allow for non-invasive detection … This would greatly alter the swab we poke in the back of both nostrils!
The laboratory responsible for the study therefore trained 8 golden retrievers and a Malinois sheepdog to detect a synthetic odor that does not exist in their environment. The fragrance compound was then placed in one of the 12 containers of a fragrance wheel. As soon as the dogs understood the mechanism, they presented them with urine samples from patients who tested positive for Covid19.
Dogs recognize the virus in sweat or body odor. Photo credit: Shutterstock / SvetikovaV
The dogs then went through two scenarios. In the first, the perfume wheel contained the target odor in one jar and a distracting odor in the other 11. In the second, the 12 glasses contained all of the positive samples and some offensive odors. For the good of the dogs, the virus was rendered harmless by heat.
The results of the study
After three weeks of testing and training, all dogs were able to identify SARS CoV2 positive samples with an accuracy of 96%. There were no false positives in the samples, but some false negatives. Which didn’t change the reliability of dogs’ sense of smell.
The results, while encouraging, do not confirm the overall effectiveness of the device. The dogs were trained on known samples, but were unable to generalize the results on new samples.
Dogs can detect drugs. And even some diseases like cancer that alter the patient’s body odor. Why shouldn’t they be able to detect the coronavirus? Other studies will likely support these theses in a few months!