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Diagnoses by dog noses – Dogs can sniff out patients with COVID-19

A research team led by the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (TiHo), in cooperation with the Bundeswehr, the Hannover Medical School and the University Medical-Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, has carried out a study with eight specialised sniffer dogs from the Bundeswehr to sniff out people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. After only one week of training, the dogs were able to distinguish between the samples. The samples were automatically distributed at random and neither the dog handlers involved nor the researchers on site knew which samples were positive and which were used for control purposes. The dogs were able to distinguish between samples from infected (positive) and non-infected (negative) individuals with an average sensitivity of 83 percent and a specificity of 96 percent. Sensitivity refers to the detection of positive samples. The specificity designates the detection of negative control samples. This method could be employed in public areas such as airports, sport events, borders or other mass gatherings as an addition to laboratory testing, helping to prevent further spreading of the virus or outbreaks. The video shows Professor Holger Volk, PhD, Head of the Small Animal Clinic of the TiHo und Professor Dr. Maren von Köckritz-Blickwede, Professor of Biochemistry of Infections and Head of Scientific Administration and Biosafety at the Research Center for Emerging Infections and Zoonoses (RIZ) of the TiHo. In addition, the following scientists, who are also collaborating in this study, are shown: Dr. Claudia Schulz and Veronika Pilchova from the RIZ, and Paula Jendrny from the Clinic for Small Animals. The publication to the pilot study: Jendrny et al. (2020), BMC Infectious Diseases: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-020-05281-3
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