A recent study conducted by Germany based researchers has discovered that trained sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19 with a relatively higher accuracy rate. By Tanvi Jain

 

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In a shocking discovery, researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hanover, in Germany, have recently found out that trained sniffer dogs have the capability to detect Coronavirus with a high accuracy rate. 

The conclusion was made based on a study conducted on dogs from the armed forces, who after only a week’s training, were able to identify COVID-19by sniffing the saliva of over a thousand healthy and infected patients. 

The study was carried out with eight specialised Bundeswehr detection dogs. After training, they were able to correctly identify 94 per cent of 1,012 saliva or tracheobronchial secretion samples. The samples were distributed automatically at random and neither the dog handlers involved nor the local researchers knew which samples were positive and which were used for the control. The dogs were able to distinguish between samples of infected (positive) and non-infected (negative) individuals with an average sensitivity of 83 per cent and a specificity of 96 per cent,” the university mentioned on its website. 

 

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The current pilot study had major limitations which need to be elucidated in future studiesSARS-CoV-2 detection dogs may then provide an effective and reliable infection detection technology in various settings like public facilities and function as an alternative or addition to regular RT-PCR screening. In countries with limited access to diagnostic tests, detection dogs could then have the potential to be used for mass detection of infected people,” the original study published in BMC Infectious Diseases Journal further said. 

Moreover, now researchers at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Durham University and a British charity, Medical Detection Dogs are also looking at training dogs for the purpose of sniffing out the virus. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine are also working towards it. 

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