This article was originally published here
J Med Virol. 2021 Jun 21. doi: 10.1002/jmv.27147. Online ahead of print.
The introduction of trained sniffer dogs for COVID-19 detection could be an opportunity, as previously described for other diseases. Dogs could be trained to detect volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the whiff of COVID-19. Dogs involved in the study were three, one male and two females from different breeds, Black German Shepherd, German Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd. The training was performed using sweat samples from SARS-CoV2 positive patients and from SARS-Cov2 free patients admitted at the University Hospital Campus Bio-medico of Rome. Gauze with sweat were collected in glass jar with metal top and put in metal boxes used for dog training. The dog training protocol was performed in two phase: the olfactory conditioning and the olfactory discrimination research. The training planning was focused on the switch moment for the sniffer dog, the moment when the dog was able to identify VOCs specific for COVID-19. At this time, the dog was able to identify VOCs specific for COVID-19 with significant reliability, in terms of number of correct versus uncorrect (p<0.0001) reporting. In conclusion, this protocol could provide a useful tool for sniffer dogs training and their introduction in mass screening context, cheaper and faster than a conventional testing method. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.