dogs as effective as PCR tests

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    According to a study conducted by the National Veterinary School of Alfort, near Paris, dogs would be very effective in detecting people carrying the coronavirus. A promising discovery that can accelerate mass screening.

    After the serological and virological tests, make way for canine flair! A French study, published on June 1, and conducted by Pr Dominique Grandjean, teacher-researcher at the National Veterinary School of Alfort (EnvA), shows that the overdeveloped sense of smell of dogs would be very effective in detecting the coronavirus in a person.

    Canine olfactory test: “97% efficiency”

    The trial, supported among others by the Fondation Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (APHP), which consisted of having dogs sniff the Covid-19 virus.

    To carry out this test, the researchers collected two nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS), a saliva sample and a sweat sample from 335 adult volunteers, distributed as follows: 143 symptomatic and 192 asymptomatic.

    The 9 dogs, trained by French firefighters, must approach the samples and sniff them.

    Result (efficient): the sensitivity of the canine olfactory test, i.e. the ability of the dog’s nose to detect true positives, was 97% and even reached 100% in asymptomatic individuals compared to tests for PCR. Specificity, or the proportion of true negatives detected, was 91%.

    For scientists, there is no doubt: the sensitivity of canine detection is higher than that of the nasopharyngeal antigen test, but the specificity is lower.

    Encouraged results

    These results suggested that canine detection of the virus could soon be an alternative to PCR testing.

    These are excellent results, comparable with those obtained with the reference test.“said Professor Jean-Marc Tréluyer, of the APHP, to AFP.But the dog test is not intended to replace it, but rather to target people who should benefit from virological screening and facilitate mass screening because of the rapid response of dogs.“, he adds.

    In February 2021, France had already started training dogs to detect Covid-19 patients. Dominique Grandjean, colonel veterinarian within the Paris fire brigade, is at the origin of the project.

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    Covid-19: can dogs infect their masters?

    Dogs can also be affected by Sars-Cov-2.

    There are several studies on this subject, referenced by the Epidemiosurveillance Animal Health (ESA) platform, which focuses on any health hazard that has or could have an impact on animal health and public health.

    She nevertheless specifies that theThe main route of transmission of COVID-19 is human-to-human. Cases of contamination and/or infection of pets are sporadic and isolated compared to the circulation of the virus in humans“.


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