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Dogs Can Detect Over 90% of COVID-19 Cases, Even Asymptomatic Ones


Dogs can be trained to detect more than 90 percent of COVID-19 infections even when patients are asymptomatic, according to new research available in preprint, which authors hope could help replace the need to quarantine new arrivals.


Using their remarkable sense of smell - which can pick up the equivalent of half a teaspoon of sugar in an Olympic-sized swimming pool - dogs have already shown that they can sniff out maladies such as cancer, malaria and epilepsy.


Several previous studies have shown proof-of-concept that dogs can detect SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers from the London School of Tropical Medicine wanted to see if dogs could detect a distinctive odor given off from chemical compounds associated with someone who is COVID positive but doesn't show symptoms.


They gathered samples of clothing and face masks from people who had tested positive for mild or symptomatic SARS-CoV-2.


Samples of the socks of 200 COVID-19 cases were collected and arranged in lab tests for six dogs that had been trained to indicate either a presence or absence of the chemical compound.


The dogs needed to be trained not to identify "false positives" in a bid to hack their reward system and obtain treats even if there were no COVID-19 samples in a given test.

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