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Dogs can detect COVID better than rapid antigen test: Study

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According to a study, dogs are more effective than existing rapid antigen tests at detecting Covid-19 infections in human sweat samples.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that dogs were 97% effective at detecting Covid infection when compared to PCR tests, which were the most accurate Covid test. The nasal antigen tests, on the other hand, detected 84% of positive Covid infections.

The findings point to a less invasive and faster Covid testing alternative.

Researchers from the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris used PCR and sweat samples from 335 people, as well as antigen tests from 234 people recruited in Paris between March 16 and April 9, 2021, for the study.

The researchers tested five dogs trained to sniff out Covid-19 using both positive and negative tests to see if they could tell the difference.

Canines were found to be 100% accurate in detecting positive Covid cases in asymptomatic individuals when compared to PCR test results.

Canines were slightly less effective at detecting negative coronavirus infections, detecting 90% of negative cases versus 97% accuracy for antigen tests.

“Non-invasive detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection by canine olfaction could be one alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs RT-PCR when it is necessary to obtain a result very quickly according to the same indications as antigenic tests in the context of mass screening,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

Previous research has demonstrated that dogs can detect malaria, prostate cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and breast cancer.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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