More Sniffs, Less Sniffles

Does COVID-19 pass… the smell test?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science. 

You’re feeling stuffed up and warm – with a POUNDING headache! Is it… COVID?! Getting tested is a hassle…  But wait!… Your dog knows when you’re sick… what about THE DREADED RONA?! 

Enter Dominique Grandjean of France’s Alfort School of Veterinary Medicine and team. They wanted to find an EASIER way to test for COVID. They thought, if dogs can sniff out drugs and bombs, why not the coronavirus?

Dogs were trained to identify COVID-19 by smelling the sweat or masks of over 300 subjects. Furry friends got a treat when they notified handlers correctly. The dogs performed better than antigen tests with 97 percent accuracy! That’s just as good as the PCR tests!

The researchers believe dogs COULD be used in mass screening scenarios like schools or stadiums. They’re cheaper, faster, less invasive, and WAY cuter. 

So let’s lose the nose swabs. *ACK CHOO* And bring on MORE butt scratches and puppy kisses!

Reference: GRANDJEAN D, ELIE C, GALLET C, JULIEN C, ROGER V, et al. (2022) Diagnostic accuracy of non-invasive detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection by canine olfaction. PLOS ONE 17(6): e0268382.