Corona detection dogs can also reliably sniff out corona infections in everyday situations and are suitable for use at major events. This is the result of a study led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), which is presented in the journal "BMJ Global Health". The specially trained dogs are even able to identify infections before the PCR test is positive, said study leader Holger Volk, head of the small animal clinic at the TiHo, the German Press Agency. "In this case, the dog is an early warning system."
Although most government corona restrictions have now been lifted, the corona detection dogs could still be useful, the veterinary medicine professor believes. "Big companies like Continental or Volkswagen would have a relatively inexpensive screening tool with them to increase the safety of their employees." The use of corona detection dogs in nursing homes is currently being tested in a project by the Mainz University Medical Center.
For the Lower Saxony study "Back to Culture", sweat samples were taken at four concerts in September and October 2021 in Hanover. On the day of the concert, the visitors had also submitted swabs for an antigen rapid test and a PCR test. For a total of 2802 participants, sweat samples, test results and information on, among other things, the vaccination status and chronic diseases were available.
As the TiHo reports, the eight specially trained dogs recognized 99.9 percent of the Sars-Cov-2-negative samples and 81.6 percent of the Sars-Cov-2-positive samples. The study shows that dogs can reliably distinguish between samples not only under laboratory conditions, but also in everyday life, Volk emphasized.
The TiHo wants to continue researching with corona sniffer dogs. According to the scientists, dogs are increasingly being used to detect smells in medicine. For example, they are able to detect various types of cancer, malaria and some bacterial and viral infections.