Research is in the early stages, but dogs seem to be able to detect the novel coronavirus.
In the future, getting checked for Covid-19 might involve a visit with a dog rather than a doctor.
Canines may be able to detect the disease, reports a new study, possibly even before people start showing symptoms.
In a new proof of concept paper, French researchers present evidence for dogs being able to detect Covid-19 by sniffing sweat from humans' armpits. After a training period, eight dogs — which had previously been trained to detect explosives and colon cancer — were able to detect the disease either most or all of the time, researchers report.
This finding was published on June 5 on the preprint server bioRxiv. It has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The dogs completed 368 trials, sniffing hospital-provided sweat samples of people who either tested positive or negative for Covid-19. The main question the researchers needed the dogs to answer was whether SWEAT SMELLS DIFFERENT in people who have the disease.
"If the answer had been no, we would have stopped — poof, finito," lead study author Dominique Grandjean tells Inverse.
But on the first day of training, it became clear within just a few hours that the dogs' expert noses picked up something different in the Covid-19 sweat samples. It was "so damn easy" to get the dogs to detect the disease, Grandjean says.
To train the dogs, the researchers placed four sweat samples, gathered on gauze cylinders swabbed on human armpits, in a line. The dogs were trained to sit after they identified a Covid-19-positive sample, as seen below.