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The use of dogs for the detection of diseases is not something new as there are successful precedents for this technique.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the University of Durham publish a report holding that sniffer dogs could contribute to the screening efforts at airports or mass events to help contain the COVID-19.
The sniff test could become "a suitable method for mass screening", researcher James Logan said, adding that, as part of a trial, dogs were trained to recognize a special odor produced by people with coronavirus, but undetectable to the human nose.
Claire Guest, chief scientific officer at the British charity Medical Detection Dogs, which trained the animals, said the results were "further evidence that dogs are one of the most reliable biosensors for detecting the odor of human disease".
According to the report, dogs picked up about 88 percent of positive cases, which means for every 100 cases, the dogs failed to recognize just 12 infected people. But out of 100 people who did not have COVID-19, the dogs wrongly suggested that 14 of them were infected.
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The LSHTM- Durham research team said the dogs could be an additional screening tool alongside more conventional tests, adding that dog screening, followed by swab testing, will pick up 91 percent of infections.
The real potential advantage is speed given that two dogs could screen 300 people in half an hour. The use of dogs for the detection of diseases is not something new as there are successful precedents for this technique.
"With a sense of smell thought to be 1,000 to 10,000 times better than ours, dogs today do all kinds of work. They can sniff out early signs of Parkinson's disease, diabetes, several types of cancer, oncoming epileptic seizures, and malaria, among other ailments, "the National Geographic review recalled.