Can Dogs Smell Covid-19?

Can Dogs Smell Covid-19?

The list of the very best things about dogs is endless, starting with the fact they love us unconditionally. Rolling along, pups greet us like we were gone for a century when we only went out for a five-minute trip to the store. They watch TV with us – but never try to hog the remote. They ensure our fitness by getting us outside everyday and on those walks, they get us to stop and smell the roses – (and, ok, random poop samples too). According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog may even protect us from heart disease. And now, it turns out, properly trained, dogs can be trained to sniff out Covid-19. We curated the following article from EcoWatch.

In a pilot study at the University of Helsinki, dogs trained as medical diagnostic assistants were taught to recognize the previously unknown odor signature of the COVID-19 disease caused by the novel coronavirus. And they learned with astonishing success: After only a few weeks, the first dogs were able to accurately distinguish urine samples from COVID-19 patients from urine samples of healthy individuals.

“We have solid experience in training disease-related scent detection dogs. It was fantastic to see how fast the dogs took to the new smell,” says DogRisk group leader Anna Hielm-Björkman. After only a short time, the animals identified the urine of people infected by the novel coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, almost as reliably as a standard PCR test.

The Finnish scientists are now preparing a randomized, double-blind study in which the dogs will sniff a larger number of patient samples. Only then will the scent tests be used in clinical practice.

Important Findings for Other Teams

The very rapid and promising findings from Finland are also important for other research teams, such as those in Great Britain and France, who are training sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19…

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