Dogs could replace temperature and infrared scanners at Covid-19 screening points. A new study shows that dogs can be trained to identify the coronavirus, even when people are asymptomatic. The dogs are more than 90% accurate, the study says.
Socks and face masks from 200 people who tested positive for Covid-19 were collected by researchers from the London School of Tropical Medicine and used to train 6 dogs to identify the smell of the chemical compounds from a Covid-19 patient. Using the dogs in addition to PCR tests at screening checkpoints, like at airports, can lead to a 2.24% lower rate of transmission, according to the study.
In Bangkok, a similar study was done at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science where 6 Labrador retrievers were trained to detect the virus in human sweat. Tests show that the dogs had an accuracy rate of 95% in detecting Covid-19 in asymptomatic patient samples. Those dogs might soon be deployed to high risk areas in Bangkok as additional screening.
An author of the London School’s study says the dogs can quickly identify a person infected with Covid-19 and can potentially be used as a screening tool to replace the need for quarantine on-arrival.
“What we’re suggesting is that dogs would give the first initial screening, and then those (arrivals) that were indicated as positive would then receive a complimentary PCR test.”