Is it true that a dog’s nose can detect the COVID-19 virus? This is According to Studies
Dogs are known to have a better sense of smell than humans. Even though they both focus on the nose, dogs have more than 100 million olfactory receptors. But is it true that a dog’s smell can detect COVID-19?
A study revealed that dogs’ sharp sense of smell has the potential to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as Covid-19. Study reveals the power of dogs in detecting viruses and their variants.
Dog Nose More Effective than PCR Test
The research was conducted by Tommy Dickey of UC Santa Barbara and Heather Junqueira of BioScent Medical Company.
They conducted a meta-analysis on 29 literature reviews that showed a consensus among researchers regarding the skill of dogs in detecting COVID-19. The study included 400 scientists, 30 countries, and 31,000 samples.
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From research published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine , Dickey and Junqueira agree that dogs with trained smellers are more effective than the antigen tests people use at home, or the PCR tests used in clinics and hospitals.
It is said to be effective, because the dog’s sense of smell can detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus more quickly without causing annoying medical waste.
“They’re much more effective. In fact, one of the authors we cited in the paper commented that RT-PCR tests are no longer the gold standard. That’s the dog. And they’re very fast. They can give you a yes or no answer in seconds, if they kiss you straight away,” said Dickey, quoted from the ZME Science page .
In fact, dogs can identify the COVID-19 virus in individuals who are still in the pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic stage. In addition, dogs can also differentiate between COVID-19 and its variants when dealing with other respiratory viruses.
How Can Dogs Detect Viruses?
In some studies, tests on dogs were carried out by sniffing the person directly or giving a sweat sample to make the dog sit or not to show the presence of COVID-19. (Here)
One of the dogs with a sharp sense of smell is the beagle. Beagles made ideal bloodhounds for the study because of their natural tendency to rely on smell to connect with the world.
According to researchers, dogs have hundreds of millions of olfactory receptors and a third of their brains are used to interpret smells. This is certainly greater than humans who only use 5% of the brain’s capacity for the sense of smell.
This allows dogs to detect odors at much lower concentrations than humans. Previous studies have also shown that dogs can identify many infectious diseases through scent.
As explained by Jacqueline Boyd, a British researcher in The Conversation. For example, children infected with malaria are recognized by dogs who smell their feet. Dogs can also detect urinary and digestive tract infections caused by harmful bacteria.
However, the researchers agree that there are still challenges to placing dogs as a primary medical diagnosis. There are still a few countries that use dogs as field experiments, such as Colombia and Finland.
“Sniffer dogs deserve a place as a useful serious diagnostic methodology during future pandemics, potentially as part of rapid routine health checks in public spaces. Medical sniffer dogs are finally ready for a number of general medical applications,” the researchers said.