German Shepherds detect COVID scent from sweat at a high success rate

  • German Shepherds being trained in a vet school in France were found to have a high success rate in sniffing out COVID-19
  • Sweat samples from positive and non-positive patients in a local hospital were used in the trial
  • In London and Pennsylvania, canines are also being studied with the same aim of finding a cost-effective and non-invasive way of determining COVID patients

Since dogs have been proven to detect the big C, researchers are relying on their skills to sniff out COVID-19.

Image via Pixabay

In France, the veterinary school l’École Nationale Vétérinaire announced through the news website, The Connexion, that German Shepherds have a success rate of 95% in determining the virus. The school took sweat samples from COVID-19 positive and uninfected patients from a hospital, Beaujon de Clichy.

Cotton wools doused in these samples are placed in metal cones. The canines identify which are from COVID patients.

Prof. Dominique Grandjean, the leader of the research, cited to news source TF1 that the sweat of patients positive for the coronavirus has a specific smell.

The canines in the trial are experienced sniffer dogs before this experiment. They trained for four days to achieve a high success rate.

Yet Grandjean believes more trials need to be done before these dogs can function as COVID detectors. Trained canines can provide a quick and cost-effective method in determining COVID positive patients, especially in airports.

Image via Medical Detection Dog | Facebook

In the UK, medical detection dogs are studied by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University in northeast England to determine if they can help detect the same virus. These dogs have been identifying malaria patients with “extremely high accuracy”.

The University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) performed the same program. Eight dogs were trained in a laboratory setting using the saliva and urine samples from COVID-positive patients.

Yet there is a question of whether exposure to the virus poses a danger on dogs. There had been various incidents of dogs getting the virus from their infected owners. However, it has not been established if it is a threat to their health though as they can test positive.