A nose for COVID? Israeli helps train dogs to detect coronavirus – .

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A nose for COVID? Israeli helps train dogs to detect coronavirus – .


A team of researchers in Hawaii, including an Israeli, recently completed a Phase III study on the use of dogs to detect the coronavirus and prevent its spread. The results of the Assistance Dogs of Hawaii (ADH) study, which is expected to be peer reviewed as early as this week, show dogs are almost 100% task-accurate. ADH has taught four dogs – three Labrador retrievers named Sadie, Tess, and Yuki, and a Golden retriever named Samson – to detect people infected with the corona. Ten dogs were tested for the program, but only these dogs were selected. The organization’s executive director, Maureen Maurer, said ADH and others are already using dogs to test for other infectious and non-infectious conditions. She said she realized that if dogs could also be used to identify the coronavirus, there could be several benefits, including the ability to screen large numbers of individuals very quickly. Dogs could be used to screen people, even those who may be asymptomatic, in certain places. such as airports, schools and hospitals, entry points and public gatherings. “This is especially important in countries where cases continue to rise and rise,” Maurer said Jerusalem post. In addition, the approach is non-invasive, results can be obtained in real time, no close contact is required with infectious samples, costs are low and large numbers of individuals can be detected quickly, according to a report. March from the World Health Organization.

Sarit Brinn, who studied dog therapy and training in Israel, worked with ADH. She said when COVID-19 hit she decided to leave Israel and “to broaden my knowledge and try something new in the dog business. I looked online and saw this ad that ADH was looking for interns, I applied and now I’m here.Israeli volunteer Sarit Brinn (left) with Assistance Dogs of Hawaii executive director Maureen Maurer and another ADH volunteer with a team of dogs training to detect COVID. (Courtesy)Brinn will remain in Hawaii next year as a staff member of the organization. For the COVID study, she assisted with sample handling and data logging. “I love it,” she told the Poster. “Our internship program is international, and we really encourage people to come and find out how dogs can help people – and then take that information, knowledge and experience back to their own countries and start programs there,” Maurer explained. Regarding the coronavirus protocol, she said the ADH had already been in contact with state and county officials and “hopes to share our protocols with other agencies who can move this program forward.” and place more dogs sniffing the coronavirus on the ground. Phase I of the study – the training phase – lasted about eight weeks and ended in March. Dogs have learned to distinguish the smell of COVID-19 emitted by human sweat from hundreds of other smells. Phase II was a double-blind study completed in April. During this phase, three dogs received hundreds of sweat samples from both inpatients and outpatients. The sweat was collected on a cotton swab which was rubbed on the neck of the volunteer. The samples were then refrigerated and shipped to ADH, where they were placed in boxes arranged in line for the dogs. The dogs approached the row of boxes and exhibited observable alert behavior, such as sitting down or placing a paw on the box. If they were right – identifying the positive samples – they got a treat. All dogs performed well, with an average rate of correct positive identification of nearly 100% and an average rate of ignoring negative samples of over 90%. Phase III, which had just ended, involved a 3-year-old retriever. Tess screening hospital patients coming for surgery at Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii.Black Labrador Tess volunteers at Queen’s Medical Center in Hawaii. (Courtesy) Patients would come a week before their surgery to perform a PCR coronavirus test. At the same time, the lab technician took a sweat sample for ADH, which would be presented to the dog. The dog’s results would then be compared to those from the lab. “We’re still in the process of completing a review of the data, but it was extremely accurate – almost 100%,” Maurer said. “We’re about to publish something on this. Similar studies have been carried out in France, Germany, Iran, Colombia, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Australia, Lebanon, Chile, Finland and Belgium, according to the WHO. Several breeds of dogs have been tried, the most common currently being
Belgian and German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Border Collies,
Springer Spaniels and mixed breeds. “However, all dogs that have a strong motivation for reward, a high scent capacity and a good working concentration are suitable,” the WHO reported. A dog is able to screen 250 to 300 people a day and maybe more, according to studies. And the cost is low – around $ 1.20 per person – which means the societal monetary savings could be significant. Studies exploring the possible influence of vaccines on dogs’ ability to identify the virus are currently underway, the WHO said.

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