A new study claims that dogs are accurate when it comes to detecting or sniffing COVID-19. The researchers involved in the latest research said that man's best friend has a 96% accuracy when it comes to identifying coronavirus, the disease that is responsible for the current global health crisis.
"This is not a simple thing we're asking the dogs to do," said Cynthia Otto, the study's senior author.
"Dogs have to be specific about detecting the odor of the infection, but they also have to generalize across the background odors of different people," added Otto, who is also the director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Working Dog Center.
She said that dogs should distinguish between men and women, people of different ethnicities and geographies, as well as adults and children.
Dog's COVID-19 detecting accuracy
In the new study, which was published by the Journal Penn Today Health Sciences, researchers trained the involved dogs to differentiate between the odors of COVID-19. These include those people who are negative, positive and vaccinated.
Researchers also said that because of the method they used, the study is now called "The T-Shirt Study." As of the moment, they are planning to expand their work and see if dogs are really accurate when it comes to sniffing COVID-19.
Otto said that they are now collecting more samples for the current study. She added that they are trying to gather more than hundreds of samples.
The animals involved in the study are eight Labrador retrievers and a Belgian Malinois, which is the first one that was trained for the current research.
Are they more accurate than the current COVID-19 kits?
As of the moment, it is hard to conclude that dogs are better than COVID-19 kits offered by hospitals and medical experts. The latter are still better when it comes to identifying if a person is infected by the viral disease.
However, some of them take a long time to provide the results. If the study proves that dogs are really accurate, this could help many people and even the health sector as they'll have an idea who is infected or not in just a matter of seconds.
Nevertheless, more studies are still required before anything significant can be concluded.
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Written by: Giuliano de Leon