Dogs have a nose with special abilities. It is known that these quadrupeds are used successfully to detect, banned substances, but they can also smell cancer or other serious diseases, and are also used successfully in various medical therapies. Dogs can also help detect and combat COVID-19. Dogs may be better at detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus than PCR tests currently used, according to a report that includes several studies and was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
“Smell” dogs, as those trained for various screening missions are called, could be used in hospitals and medical centers to help with faster testing with minimal effort, accelerating the rate of COVID-19 tracking. The author of the paper, Tommy Dickey, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has this opinion.
Current diagnostic tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection involve invasive nasal swabs, which are then sent for PCR testing. This requires time, testing laboratories and an efficient logistics system to process several samples simultaneously, so a faster system would be efficient in a context where the pandemic shows no signs of stopping.
In the independently reviewed paper by other scientists, Professor Tommy Dickey considered all research aimed at legitimizing the use of dogs against COVID-19.
The dogs detected cases of COVID-19 quite well
Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell, so perfected that it can detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at a fraction of the concentration that humans can feel. Although it is not known exactly what dogs smell, their noses are able to detect cancer and other diseases with high accuracy, probably due to the compounds released in body fluids or in patients’ blood.
The first study, conducted by French researchers, included eight dogs specializing in smell and previously trained to detect cancer and illegal substances.
198 samples from the armpits of hospitalized patients combined with control samples from people who had been tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection were used. Impressively, the dogs had a success rate of 83-100% in detecting cases of COVID-19, and some even identified evidence that the researchers considered negative. Subsequently, those people with negative samples were hospitalized with COVID-19 infection.
The rest of the studies varied in methodology, but two of them indicated a detection of 94% and> 95.5%, the last being still in progress.