Health Australian researchers sniff out a new technique for mass COVID-19 detection

Australian researchers sniff out a new technique for mass COVID-19 detection

Man’s best friend is pointing to a new way to return to normal in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within months, dogs may be deployed in airports and other crowded places to detect people with COVID-19, providing low cost, instantaneous and reliable screening.

Researchers from The University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences are coordinating the Australian arm of an international alliance, training dogs to be able to sniff-out COVID-19 — including canines based in Victoria.

It follows scientists in France producing preliminary results showing dogs can detect the smell of COVID-19 in patients, with some recording a 100 per cent success rate.

The University of Adelaide’s Dr Anne-Lise Chaber said dogs were ideal not just because of their keen sense of smell, but because they aren’t susceptible to the virus.

“COVID-19 dog detectors will be a reliable, repeatable, cheap, easy and fast way to screen or pre-screen potential cases,” she said.

“Dogs are trained in the same way as dogs that detect explosives. If results from our local study are positive we will be able to move to the clinical screening phase,’’ she said.

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