A veterinarian in Germany has claimed to have trained sniffer dogs to detect coronavirus in human saliva samples with an accuracy of up to 94 percent.
The dogs are conditioned to smell the “corona smell” emanating from the cells of infected people, said Esther Schalke, a veterinarian at the German Armed Forces School for service dogs.
Holger Volk, head of the veterinary clinic, said: “We did a study where dogs sniffed samples from Covid-positive patients and we can say that in our study they have a 94 percent chance … that they will sniff them out can .
“This is how dogs can really spy on people with and without infections, as well as asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid patients.”
Filou, a 3-year-old Belgian Shepherd, and Joe Cocker, a 1-year-old Cocker Spaniel, are two of the dogs that are trained at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover.
Stephan Weil, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony, whose state capital is Hanover, was impressed by the study and called for feasibility tests before the sniffer dogs are used in everyday life, for example with concert goers.
He added, “We now need tests in selected events.”
In Finland, dogs trained to detect the novel coronavirus began sniffing passenger samples in a pilot project at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in Finland last September in addition to the usual tests at the airport.
The Chilean Santiago International Airport also uses dog detectors.
In Russia, small fox-like canines called shalaikas are also trained to detect coronavirus, the Moscow Times previously reported.
In the UK, a £ 500,000 government backed study is looking into whether dogs can be trained to spy on the virus.
Scientists from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Durham University are involved.