A study found that dogs can identify infected people, with just a week of training.
Man's best friend is even more attuned to us humans than we know. According to recent research coming out of Germany, dogs may be a way to identify people who are infected with coronavirus but may not know it.
The study was conducted jointly with the German armed forces, the Hannover Medical School, and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf and started with a small cohort of eight dogs from Germany's armed forces who went through just a week's worth of training. After the training, they were asked to sniff out coronavirus in the saliva of around 1,000 infected and healthy people.
Overall, in sniffing out 1,012 randomized samples, the dogs achieved an overall average detection rate of 94 percent (±3.4 percent) with 157 correct indications of positive, 792 correct rejections of negative, 33 incorrect indications of negative, and incorrect rejections of 30 positive sample presentations, according to the research study.
Researchers think dogs are able to sniff out a smell created by infection, which makes sense, as canines have around a 1,000 times more sensitive than humans.
“We think that this works because the metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient are completely changed,” Maren von Koeckritz-Blickwede, a professor at the university, said in a YouTube video about the project. “We think that the dogs are able to detect a specific smell.”
Check out the video below detailing the study:
Dogs are already widely used to detect drugs, cadavers, and live people and animals. Some can even be trained to sense blood sugar changes in diabetics, as well as notice the signs of oncoming seizures in humans. This finding, with future corroborating research, could see dogs used to detect COVID-19 at large gatherings, airports, border crossings, and much more. In addition, it opens the door to train dogs to sniff out other diseases, such as the swine flu, SARS, and the like.
If you'd like to dig into the science, you can read the published research study here.
What do you think? Yay or nay on using dogs to identify infected individuals? Let us know in the comments.