These German Military Dogs Have Been Trained To Sniff Out Coronavirus, Researchers Say
Sun, 07/26/2020 – 16:30
Here’s an innovation that could dramatically reduce the mortality associated with SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
In Germany, a group of researchers claim to have trained dogs to identify people infected with the virus, according to a report from a prestigious German veterinary university.
The study involved eight dogs from the German armed forces, according to Bloomberg.
Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces were trained for only a week and were able to accurately identify the virus with a 94% success rate, according to a pilot project led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover.
Researchers challenged the dogs to sniff out Covid-19 in the saliva of more than 1,000 healthy and infected people.
“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.”
Trained dogs stationed at vulnerable choke points – airports, nursing homes, etc – could in theory help curb the virus’s spread among the most vulnerable groups. There’s great potential to gradually reduce both spread and mortality, the researchers said.
Dogs, which have a sense of smell around 1,000 times more sensitive than humans, could be deployed to detect infections at places such as airports, border crossings and sporting events with the proper training, according to the researchers. The study was conducted jointly with the German armed forces, the Hannover Medical School and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Von Koeckritz-Blickwede said that the next step will be to train dogs to differentiate Covid samples from other diseases like influenza.
As we reported last night, citing data just released by the Florida Department of Health, roughly 46% of deaths confirmed in the state of Florida have been traced back to long-term care facilities, including both staff and patients, but overwhelmingly patients. That’s only 1/3rd the total of nursing home deaths in New York, a state where Gov Andrew Cuomo’s failure to change a policy that called for hospitals to return COVID-19 positive patients to their care facilities just might be remembered as the biggest policy blunder of the American coronavirus response.
That’s not to say that Cuomo doesn’t have some stiff competition.