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Dogs manage to identify Covid-19 with an accuracy of 94%

Animals could be faster than other methods of detecting the virus that we use now .

Labrador retriever with a human

The study ensures that a single trained dog can analyze up to 250 people in just one hour. Photo: Pixabay

LatinAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: Perros logran identificar la Covid-19 con una precisión del 94%

Although the coronavirus has been an unexpected event with multiple consequences at the socio-economic level, it has also been essential to demonstrate the progress of the scientific community in terms of the development of vaccines in short time. On the other hand, this situation has allowed different studies to be developed, not only to understand the behavior of the virus, but to find new alternatives that allow its early detection and new treatments.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University studied how dogs can detect Covid-19 quickly and in a short time. The results were 94% accurate. 

Also read: WHO: All approved vaccines are effective against all variants of Covid-19

During the experiment, the researchers used samples from more than 3,500 people, including clothing and masks to train six dogs to detect the coronavirus . Although the initial results of the study are pending external observation by other specialists, the truth is that these canines have achieved the ability to identify the pathogen with an accuracy of 94% in the cases tested. This is important not only because it demonstrates the dexterity of biodetector dogs, but it exceeds the accuracy of antigen testing which is between 58 and 77% .

The analysis of the research indicates, among other things, that dogs trained in this new method against Covid-19, would be a very helpful alternative as the first rapid detection tool in open spaces such as airports or land transport terminals. Likewise, they would also be complemented with traditional methods such as PCR tests and thus confirm the results of the samples taken.

On the other hand, the study ensures that a single trained dog can analyze up to 250 people in just one hour . This is essential for the new alternatives in the identification of infected because it overwhelms the capacity of current tests to a great extent.

"Knowing that we can use the amazing power of a dog's nose to detect Covid-19 quickly and non-invasively gives us hope of returning to a more normal way of life," said Claire Guest, Scientific Director of Medical Detection Dogs and lead author of the experimental trial.

During the preliminary experimentation process, four Labradors, a Golden Retriever and a Working Cocker Spaniel were chosen. They sniffed the samples in a system of supports that necessarily required a "yes or no" in each of the cases presented. In this way, if they were able to identify the existence of the virus in the test items, the dogs confirmed it with indications such as sitting, pushing or simply staring forward. If the verification of the data gave a correct answer, they received food or toys as a reward.