Dogs To Diagnose COVID-19
Researchers from the University of California Santa Barbara report that dogs can identify people who are COVID-19 positive and, according to professor emeritus Tommy Dickey, Ph.D., can do this “non-intrusively, more rapidly and with comparable or possibly better accuracy than our conventional detection tests.” Dogs do this by “basically smelling the sweat of the person,” according to Dickey. He noted that while the virus itself has no odor, metabolic products excreted by COVID-positive individuals through their skin were detected by 18 dogs selected for a series of experiments by French and Lebanese researchers. After only four days of training the dogs identified COVID-19 accurately in 83 to 100 percent of cases. Dickey and Santa Barbara researcher Heather Junqueira noted that with 125 to 300 million olfactory cells and a third of their brains devoted to interpreting odors, “dogs are well-equipped with the ability to sniff out the volatile organic compounds that indicate the presence of COVID.”
“Toward the Use of Medical Scent Detection Dogs for Covid-19 Screening,” Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, February 2021, doi: doi.org/10.1515/jom-2020-0222
More from this week’s health bulletin:
- Coffee & Your Heart
- What Happened To The Flu?
- This week’s recipe: Smoked Salmon With Caper Yogurt & Tomato Relish
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