Schools, hospitals and businesses in Britain are considering the use of Covid sniffer dogs as a new way to detect the virus with more conventional testing methods.
A UK study published by the academic consortium in May this year, found that canines have a better record in detecting the presence of Covid-19 in humans than lateral flow tests, with a level of precision not far behind the “gold standard” PCR tests.
Interest in organizations across the country as to whether specially trained dogs can be used to detect Covid at the entrances to nightclubs, pubs, conferences, schools, hospitals and airports is growing.
Amazon Studios, an American production and distribution company, recently used trained dogs to show more than 200 actors and crew at a London feature film shoot.
In the autumn, the British government held talks with a consortium on the use of Covid’s sniffer dogs at the COP26 climate summit to check out thousands of daily visitors to the Glasgow event.
In the end, the ministers decided not to move forward due to concerns about potential “cultural sensitivity” to animals among delegates from approximately 200 countries.
Other countries have also tested Covid’s sniffer dogs. Last year Helsinki Airport the pilot was running, while the police had recently entered Dubai has trained 38 search dogs to detect the virus, according to Reuters.
James Logan, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who conducted the study in partnership with charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, said different cancers and diseases have their own “scented signature” that can detect breeds of weapons. such as Labradors and Cocker Spaniels.
“We’re not saying dogs can replace LFT and PCR, but in some situations they could be an additional tool,” he said. “Two dogs can inspect an entire plane with over 300 people getting off the plane in just 30 minutes.”
Claire Guest, CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, said: “A large number of people and organizations are interested. We got a fantastic opportunity for British innovation[with]. . . final phase [trials] in the workplace. . . Some NHS partners, there is interest from schools. ”
Covid-19 has a “very, very unique smell”, which means that animals do not struggle to detect it even in a crowd.
“They can do it incredibly fast, sniffing is 0.5 seconds to determine if someone has Covid,” she said.
The study, which was partially funded by the Ministry of Health, used six dogs to smell over 3,500 odor samples. The animals detected the presence of the Sars-Cov-2 virus with an accuracy of between 82 and 94 percent.
It is less effective than PCR tests, which have 97 percent sensitivity, but more successful than lateral flow tests that detect on average 72 percent of symptomatic cases, and 58 percent asymptomatic.
However, unlike LFT, dogs had a significant number of false positives when it was misidentified that humans had Covid. But the report’s authors argued that forcing a small number to take PCR for verification was less disruptive than testing the entire group.
After doing the first study in a controlled environment, the consortium continues with live experiments on as many as 20 dogs.
“We have been in talks with a number of organizations for some time, including local government, not just the UK, airlines, airports and jobs,” Logan said.
Amazon Studios used two dogs for several weeks, with conventional tests, during the filming People we hate at a wedding.
“It worked really well, we used them to test supporting artists who will be close to the main actors,” said Rich Gold, Covid Compliance Officer at Amazon Studios, noting that using dogs is also a more sustainable way than ordering plastic tests.
“We are dealing with an industry where you have to be on the move every day in different locations and if one person gets Covid, it can stop an entire multi-million dollar production.
“Owning dogs is a quick, easy and non-invasive way to test,” he added.