“detector” dogs tested at an airport“detector” dogs tested at an airport

“Detector” dogs tested at an airport

In a Finnish study, researchers deployed four dogs to an airport to test their ability to detect travelers infected with the coronavirus.
A French study has already shown that dogs are well able to identify people affected by Covid-19.
In a new scientific article published on May 16, 2022 in BMJ Global Health, Finnish researchers and Frenchman Loic Desquilbet, from the Department of Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology (National Veterinary School of Alfort) demonstrate that canids can be used successfully at an international airport in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
A solid triple-blind study
“Dogs are supposed to detect distinct volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by the metabolic processes of their hosts under various conditions”, in particular during infections, recalls this study.
Detection can take place when a person is affected by Covid-19, a discovery highlighted by French work.
"The study was conducted in a specially designed and constructed cabin at the arrivals terminal."
It included three separate sampling rooms and the canines were not in contact with the travelers who carried out a PCR test at the same time.
And they also "marked" four samples that were actually negative.
Dogs disturbed by the alpha variant
“The only variable strongly associated with the inability to identify Covid-19 positive samples was the alpha variant. Indeed, according to the epidemiological situation in our country, the variants of the virus only began to appear at the end of our period of collection of validation samples", underline the Finnish researchers.
“This observation is remarkable because it proves the strong discriminating power of dogs. The obvious implication is that training samples must cover all epidemiologically relevant variants. Our preliminary observations suggest that dogs 'primed' with one type of virus can within hours be retrained to detect its variants."
They indicate that dogs could ultimately be used in both high coronavirus prevalence sites (e.g. hospitals) and low prevalence sites (airports, ports).