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Dogs better than lateral Covid tests

Issue: 04/06/2021

A new study has revealed that dogs are better at detecting Covid-19 than many lateral flow tests (LFTs).
According to a French study dogs excel at detecting the presence of coronavirus in humans. The “very promising” results could speed up mass screenings.
The study was launched by the National Veterinary School of Alfort (EnvA) as part of an ongoing Covid-19 project.
It showed that dogs were able to detect coronavirus with 97 percent accuracy. They were also 91 percent successful in identifying negative samples.
Professor Jean-Marc Tréluyer from the research unit told Agence-France Presse, ‘These are excellent results, comparable to those obtained with the reference test.
‘But the dog test is not intended to replace it, but rather to target people who need to be screened for virologically and facilitate mass screening because of the speed of the dogs’ response.’
He added, ‘they could help identify those people who should undergo a full viral test and – because the dogs’ response is so quick – facilitate mass testing’ at places such as airports, train stations and concert venues.
A review of 64 studies found that LFTs correctly identify on average 72 percent of people who are infected with the virus and 58 percent who do not.
The trial was conducted between March 16 and April 9 and it compared the tests with canine olfactory screening. There were 300 volunteers, aged from 6 to 76, and they used nine trained sniffer dogs.
The participants placed compresses for two minutes under their armpits. These compresses were locked in jars and then sniffed by two different dogs, who were not in contact with the volunteers.
At Helsinki and Dubai International Airports dogs have been used to sniff for Covid-19.
A study at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand showed that Labrador Retrievers could detect the virus in symptomatic and asymptomatic people with an accuracy of 94.8 percent.
The American Basketball team Miami Heat said it would be using Covid-19 detection dogs to screen before games.

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