Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover have claimed that trained dogs can sniff out COVID-19 infections with 94% accuracy.
The smell receptors in dogs are 10,000 times more powerful and accurate than human beings. Trained dogs have previously been able to detect malaria, cancer, and other viral infections.
Titled “Scent dog identification of samples from COVID-19 patients,” the researchers collaborated with Hannover Medical School and the German Armed Forces to train the dogs during the study.
Over the course of study, Hannover researchers trained 8 dogs of German Armed Forces.
After training, the dogs sniffed at more than 1000 human saliva samples that were taken from both healthy individuals and COVID-19 patients. All the samples were placed randomly as none of the onsite researchers had any knowledge about the positive samples.
The trained dogs successfully distinguished between COVID-19 infected and non-infected samples with 94% accuracy.
Maren von Koeckritz-Blickwede, Professor of Biochemistry of Infections at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, said that dogs can detect infected samples because the metabolic processes of an afflicted individual changes completely.
Maren added that dogs will be trained to distinguish between COVID-19 samples and other viral infections such as influenza in the future.
Although the study is only a pilot project, German researchers have expressed hope that it could help to avert future COVID-19 outbreaks.