London, May 24 (EFE) – Sniffer dogs could be added to Covid-19 airport screening points after a study published on Monday revealed trained dogs could identify the smell of Covid-19 with an accuracy rate of up to 94%.
The sniffer dogs were trained using over 3,750 odour samples, including used clothes from people who had Covid-19, as part of a research led by UK universities and published by the British association Medical Detection Dogs.
Initial results indicate that the dogs were able to identify the disease with up to 94.3% and were even able to distinguish between asymptomatic and mild Covid-19 cases.
Antigen tests have an accuracy of 58 to 77%.
The preliminary study also showed that a single dog can test up to 250 people in one hour, considerably faster than all other methods of Covid-19 detection.
The research suggests that trained sniffer dogs could be used as a first rapid detection tool in public spaces, such as airports, if deployed in conjunction with traditional methods.
“Knowing that we can harness the amazing power of a dog’s nose to detect COVID-19 quickly and non-invasively gives us hope for a return to a more normal way of life through safer travel and access to public places,” said Dr Claire Guest, Chief Scientific Officer at Medical Detection Dogs.
The six sniffer dogs, which include four labradors, one golden retriever and a working cocker spaniel, are given cues such as sit, push or look forward and rewarded with snacks and toys when correct.EFE