German sniffer dogs show promise at detecting coronavirus

German sniffer dogs can detect coronavirus in people after a week of training, study shows.

Eight dogs from Germany’s armed forces were trained for a week to distinguish between saliva from patients infected with coronavirus and non-infected individuals.

They were then presented with positive and negative samples on a random basis by a machine, with the positive samples chemically rendered harmless.

The dogs are now able to identify the virus with a 94-percent success rate.

Dogs have a sense of smell about 1,000 times more sensitive than humans.

They could be deployed to detect infections in places such as airports, border crossings and sporting events.

The next step will be to train the dogs to differentiate COVID-19 samples from other diseases like influenza.

Sniffer dogs that normally look for explosives or drugs are also used to sniff out various cancers and hypoglycemia in diabetics.

This medical application motivated veterinary scientists to research their potential ability to detect coronavirus.  

Similar research using dogs is currently ongoing in other countries, including Finland, France and the UK.

This video was produced and edited by Al Jazeera NewsFeed’s Katya Bohdan.