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Trained German Shepherds can now detect coronavirus, researchers say

/ 04:28 PM May 27, 2020
German shepherd

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French researchers who trained German Shepherds to detect the new coronavirus are now gaining fruitful results, as the canines showed a 95% success rate of sniffing out the virus.

The veterinary school l’École Nationale Vétérinaire in Paris, France announced the result of its research, as per The Connexion on Monday, May 25.

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The dogs could identify the presence of the virus by smelling sweat samples taken from COVID-19 positive patients. The school partnered up with a local hospital to collect the sweat samples of both infected and non-infected subjects.

According to the report, pieces of cotton wool were soaked in these samples and placed inside metal cones. The canines then had to identify which cones contained the infected or not-infected samples, using their keen sense of smell.

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Prof. Dominique Grandjean, the leader of the research, said that according to their observation, those who were positive for the coronavirus emitted a specific smell in their sweat, the report cited French TV outlet TF1.

The German Shepherds had to undergo four days of training to reach their success rate. The canines used in the trial were experienced sniffer dogs prior to the experiment. They have been working alongside firefighters to locate missing people and explosives.

Despite the promising results, more trials need to be conducted before the sniffer dogs could be utilized by the French government. Grandjean believes that the canines could provide a quick and cost-effective solution to COVID-19 testing, especially in airports.

“We could make the dogs available to local governments so that people can be tested without pain, for free and eventually, every day,” he was quoted as saying.

Some of the testing methods currently available are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests which involve swabbing one’s nose or throat, or taking a blood test. The reliability of these tests have been questioned and they can take time to show results.

Similarly, a group of scientists in the United Kingdom is training dogs to sniff out COVID-19. In previous studies, researchers had successfully trained canines to detect malaria. Cha Lino/JB

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TOPICS: coronavirus, COVID-19, dogs, France, German Shepherds
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