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Trained Dogs Can Sniff Out COVID-19 Infections, According to Study

What can't dogs do?
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As it is microscopic, coronavirus has been called an invisible enemy. Though invisible to the naked eye, scientists have found another way to detect it: a dog's nose.

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The new study by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover found that properly trained dogs could distinguish between human saliva samples that were infected with SARS-CoV-2 and those without with a 94-percent success rate. It's pretty amazing, really. 

That said, we shouldn't be surprised considering that dogs have smell receptors that are up to 10,000 times more powerful than those of humans. Through time, these have been utilized to sniff out other diseases such as cancer and malaria and other bacterial and viral infections.

The paper doesn't mention how the dogs were trained, but it mentions that Frida, a Labrador, was only trained for a week to figure things out. “Dog odor detection is far better than the general public can imagine. Nevertheless, we were amazed at how quickly our dogs could be trained to recognize samples from SARS-CoV-2 infected people," says researcher Dr. Esther Schalke.

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In the future, this method could be used in public areas such as airports, sporting events, borders, or other mass events as a supplement to laboratory tests and temperature checks.

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Paolo Chua
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor of Esquire Philippines.
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