A study in Germany found that dogs were able to smell novel coronaviruses in the saliva of patients with COVID-19.
Researchers at Germany’s University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover found that the investigative dogs trained in the study could determine the difference between salivary samples from COVID-19 infected patients and those who were negative for the disease.
The authors said in the study, “During the presentation of 1012 randomized samples, dogs achieved an overall average detection rate of 94 percent.”
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The randomized controlled double-blind trial consisted of eight exploratory dogs that were trained over a week to detect saliva or respiratory secretions of SARS-COV-2-infected patients.
Sniffer dogs can differentiate with a great deal of accuracy in saliva samples of infected and non-infected individuals.
The study’s authors stated, “Positive seventh signs of positive, 792 correct rejects of negative, 33 negative signs of negative or incorrect rejections of 30 positive sample presentations,” study authors cited.
Researchers point out that during respiratory infections, such as SARS-CoV-2, certain types of compounds are produced and may be due to what they describe as a “specific odor imprint” that dogs have that smell Can be trained to detect.
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“Dogs have a lot of brain power to explain smells. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, there are more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal cavity, compared to 6 million in people. “The area of the canine brain devoted to odor analysis is about 40 times larger than the comparable part. The human brain. In fact, it has been estimated that dogs can smell anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than people .
“Unlike humans, dogs have an extra olfactory device that enhances their smelling ability,” according to VCA Animal Hospitals. “The organ functions as a secondary olfactory system specifically designed for chemical communication.”
The study authors stated that these are preliminary findings and further research should be conducted to help develop more reliable screening methods for COVID-19-infected patients. In addition to using it as an alternative to laboratory testing, researchers said the method could be used to help prevent the spread of coronaviruses in public places such as sports competitions, mass gatherings, airports.