Insect technology start-up InsectSense researchers and Wageningen University in the Netherlands announced A press release this week, they had trained more than 150 bees in a study to identify samples containing the virus responsible for COVID-19 based on its scent.
The group said that as part of the study, the bees received a sugar water solution reward whenever they were exposed to an infected sample, on which the bees stretched their tongue out to receive the solution.
The bees, which due to their sensitivity to odors can be trained in minutes to detect volatiles and odors, then associated the reward with positive samples and began to stick their tongues out after being exposed to the COVID-scent. 19 alone, the researchers said.
Scientists noted that the study showed extremely promising results, with only a small number of false positives and false negatives recorded.
According to the press release, InsectSense has developed a prototype machine that can train bees to detect the virus, which scientists hope they can adopt in low-income countries where access to materials for polymerase chain reaction tests (PCR) is limited.
“Not all labs have this, especially in low-income countries,” said Wim van der Poel, a professor at Wageningen University, who led the research. Le Washington Post.
“Bees are everywhere and the device is not very complicated,” he added.
Although the results of the study have not yet been published in a journal or peer reviewed, van der Poel told the Post he believes the COVID-19 test of bees could achieve an accuracy rate of d ‘about 95% using several insects per sample.
“Our first goal was to demonstrate that we could train bees to do this, and that’s where we succeeded,” he told the newspaper. “And now we’re calculating, and we’re continuing the work to see how sensitive the method is.”
The bee research comes as others recruited dogs to help screen for COVID-19, including NASCAR, which announced last month he would use specially trained canines to sniff essential workers during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
That same month, a Thai trainer running a program to help dogs detect the virus said the animals were able to do so with 95 percent accuracy over a six month period.