Dogs in Germany trained to sniff out COVID-19 in humans, researchers say
Researchers say it took just a few days to train eight dogs from Germany's armed forces to sniff out the coronavirus in humans.
(WVLT/CBS) - Researchers say it took just a few days to train eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces to sniff out the coronavirus in humans.
CBS News reported that the dogs, part of a study performed by the University Veterinary Medicine Hannover, were able to identify COVID-19 with a 94 percent success rate.
The study was published Thursday in the BMC Infectious Diseases. It said the eight dogs trained for just five days before being able to identify the virus in people. Researchers said the dogs sniffed the saliva of more than 1,000 people, both healthy and infected, to identify the virus.
“We think this works because metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient is completely changed, and we think that the dogs are able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients,” Professor Dr. Maren Von Köckritz-Blickwede said in a YouTube video about the study Thursday.
CBS reported that another professor from the university, Dr. Holger Volk, said that because dogs have a sense of smell 1,000 times better than humans, their potential in the medical field is huge.
"We know for a very long time that dogs have been used in a lot of walks of life, but for medical detection, it's a novel at the end of the day," Volk said. "People have not really realized the potential a dog could have to detect diseased from non-diseased patients."
CBS reported that the dogs were trained using the saliva of people who tested positive and people who tested negative with no history of respiratory disease. An algorithm presented the dogs with the saliva, adding up to 1,012 samples.
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