Study indicates sniffer dogs could be able to detect COVID19 with unto 94% accuracy

al sahawat times covid19

94% accuracy in decking COVID19 using sniffer dogs is possible, a preliminary study has suggested


Medical Detection Dogs is a 13 year old, privately owned corporation based in Milton Keynes, UK. See their full details here.

Dr Claire Guest, Chief Scientific Officer of Medical Detection Dogs:

“We’ve been able to get very good quality samples in front of the dogs in an order they can learn this odour very reliably and they’ve even been able to do it with asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals.”

The project, left by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in collaboration with Durham University and Medical Detection Dogs, used a sample size of 3’500 donated by both private citizens and the UK’s National Health Service.

There was a 94.3% sensitivity rate, indicative of a low risk of false negative results. There was also a 92% specificity rate also indicative of a low risk of false positive results.

Six dogs were used in the double-blind trials, where both the canine and human researchers were unaware of whether the samples were positive or negative.

Modelling the results to scale it has now been suggested that such dogs could be used in airports and ports, with the recommendations suggesting two canines being capable of screening 300 samples every 30 mins. (Or presumably; 300 people/hour per dog).

Project lead, Professor James Logan, suggested:

“[the dogs] could be an additional tool that could be used as part of a lit to address the things that PCR and lateral flow tests can’t do.”

“they could be used in circumstances such as airports, or other public gatherings, stadiums, where lots of people have to be screened very quickly.”

However, the study results have not yet been peer reviewed, with the researchers keen to jump ahead to the next stage; real-world trials.

© 2021 Al-Sahawat Times, Printed and Distributed by IPMG, an Al-Said Group entity. 

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About the Author

Amira Bakr
Journalist Since: September 2010 Profession: Investigative Journalist Graduated in: 2008 Based in: London, UK Previous professional experience: New York, Moscow, Dubai, Beirut Languages: English, Arabic, Russian, French