A study from France and Lebanon indicates that dogs can be trained to detect the coronavirus in human sweat.
The researchers in the study took sweat samples from the underarms of 177 hospital patients, just over half of whom had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a CNN report. They then trained 14 canines who previously served as explosives detection, search and rescue or colon cancer detection dogs to pick up the scent of COVID-19 samples.
The six dogs that were formally tested in the study had success rates between 76% and 100% in detecting the virus. The two dogs who were previously trained in colon cancer detection had 100% success rates.
Dogs are already in use for COVID-19 detection in some countries. Helsinki Airport in Finland began deploying dogs for this purpose in September and dogs were being trained to detect the virus in Chile and the United Kingdom in July. (RELATED: Dogs Used To Detect Coronavirus)
Dogs trained to detect the coronavirus began work at Finland’s Helsinki-Vantaa airport. A passenger swipes their neck with a gauze, places it in a can which is then handed over for a dog to sniff and deliver an immediate result https://t.co/AzmQjzUlEg pic.twitter.com/lnEjgwYIEG
— Reuters (@Reuters) September 25, 2020
Two of the sweat samples in the French-Lebanese study that had previously tested negative for Covid-19 were repeatedly marked as positive by the dogs, according to CNN. Both humans who provided those sweat samples later tested positive, indicating that dogs may be able to detect COVID-19 even when formal testing mechanisms fail to identify it.
The researchers said that the study is a “promising first step” but that further research is needed before drawing definitive conclusions.