Dogs can detect Covid-19 faster than rapid antigen test: Study

London, June 4 (IANS) Dogs are more effective at detecting Covid-19 infections through human sweat samples than the existing rapid antigen tests, according to a study.

The study, published in the PLOS ONE, showed that dogs were 97 per cent effective at detecting Covid infection compared to PCR tests – the most accurate Covid test. On the other hand, the nasal antigen tests detected 84 per cent of positive Covid infections.

The findings suggest a potentially less invasive and quicker Covid testing alternative.

For the study, researchers at the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris included PCR and sweat samples from 335 people and antigen tests from 234 people recruited in Paris from March 16 and April 9, 2021.

The researchers examined five dogs trained to sniff out Covid-19 by examining both positive and negative tests to see if they could tell.

They found canines were 100 per cent accurate in detecting positive Covid cases in asymptomatic individuals compared to PCR test results.

The canines were slightly less effective at identifying negative coronavirus infections, detecting 90 per cent of negative cases compared to antigen tests that were 97 per cent accurate.

“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 studies have shown dogs to detect malaria, prostate cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and also breast cancer.