Written by Tanush Sahasrabuddhe, a grade 3 student
Do you really think dogs can detect COVID 19 virus? I am sure you don’t. But research has proved that dogs can sniff coronavirus. Sniffer dogs are being trained to detect COVID19, just as they are used to detect drugs, explosives, malaria, and cancer.
The International team at National Veterinary School in Alford, France researchers showed that dogs can detect the virus with 83 percent to 100 percent accuracy.
With just one week of training, a pack of dogs in Germany has learned how to detect COVID 19 in human samples. In the research conducted at the German veterinary university, eight dogs were trained from the country’s armed forces to sniff out the saliva of more than 1000 healthy and infected people. When the dogs were given samples of five containing and one containing a positive randomly, they were able to accurately identify the virus with a 94 percent success rate.
And why do you think dogs can smell the virus and humans cannot?
Because dogs’ noses bear 300 million scent receptors, compared with humans’ 5 million to 6 million. This enables them to detect tiny concentrations of odour that humans cannot. Well, researchers don’t know what exactly the dogs smell. But they suspect that these illnesses cause the human body to give off a distinct pattern of volatile organic compounds (VOC). These molecules create scent that dogs can smell. According to a nature.com report, dogs could come of great help in detecting covid19 positive persons in busy public places. They would be able to screen hundreds of human beings per hour at busy areas such as airports, markets, etc. This will make the process faster and cheaper than most other techniques that involve the usage of complex machines.
However veterinary neurologist Holger Volk, who is leading an effort to train and study coronavirus-sniffing canines, said, “This does not mean dogs can replace RT-PCR machine, but they can be very promising.”
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