Dogs detect virus as well as PCR tests, study finds

A study conducted by French researchers from the AP-HP, published this Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, proves that the scent of dogs could help detect Covid-19. And this, as efficiently as a PCR test, reports BFM-TV.

“Our results demonstrated the excellent sensitivity of the detection of SARS-CoV 2 by dogs,” said the researchers who worked with the veterinary school of Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne). The study has indeed resulted in a 97% relevance of the detection of people positive for the coronavirus, and even 100% for asymptomatic people.

An alternative to PCR?

The study was based on 335 people, including 109 with Covid-19 (78 symptomatic and 31 asymptomatic). Sweat samples were taken from the participants, collected on compresses which the dogs then sniffed. Each sample was sent by at least two dogs. A sample was considered positive by the researchers when the two dogs stopped on it, and negative in the opposite case. If the dog seemed alerted by the sample but did not “immediately” sit in front of it, then the test was considered positive as well.

These canine tests could become a real alternative to traditional and very invasive PCR tests. They could also give a result more quickly. Either way, these tests should be confirmed by RT-PCR testing, especially when it comes to variant screening.

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