The data has raised the question of whether dogs should be used more widely for mass virus tests, especially in places such as airports which will see increasing numbers of people due to the easing of lockdown restrictions. . The study found that dogs detected Covid better in humans than lateral flow tests (LFT), which typically give results around 30 minutes after a sample is taken.
Speaking to Agence-France Presse, Professor Jean-Marc Tréluyer said: “These are excellent results, comparable to those of a PCR test.”
He added that despite this comparison, dogs would not replace polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
According to the study, dogs were also correct at identifying negative Covid samples 91% of the time.
The same review also found that in people infected with COVID-19 but showing no symptoms, it detected only 58% of cases.
Professor Tréluyer added that the dogs “could help identify people who should have a full viral test and – because the dogs’ response is so rapid – facilitate mass testing” in places such as nightclubs and travel centers.
The data was collected from 335 people aged 6 to 76, who were in a testing center in Paris looking for a PCR test.
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The Paris hospital board said: “These results are scientific confirmation of the ability of dogs to detect the olfactory signature of Covid-19. “
The study is to be published in a scientific journal and is hailed as the first of its kind.
Other researchers around the world have experimented with the use of dogs to detect Covid, these findings potentially providing reasons to reverse this situation as the world recovers from the pandemic.