Some Dogs Can Detect Coronavirus in Human Sweat

It has been found that the sweat of people who have COVID-19 has a very specific smell that humans cannot detect. However, it turns out that some dogs have the ability to sniff it out.

Very recently, researchers across the globe have been working on training canines to identify the coronavirus through scent. It has been reported that some dogs are so good at sniffing it out that they succeed 100% of the time.

About the Study

In the initial test, eight specially-trained Belgian Malinois were used. Many of these dogs had already been working with emergency responders and firefighters. Some of them had been used before to locate people who had been buried in an earthquake, while the others had been utilized to diagnose people who had colon cancer.

Every one of these dogs was then taught to sniff out COVID-19, by smelling inside of a steel cone that was attached to one of five sample jars that contained virus-positive human sweat samples.

Each time that the dog sat down in front of a cone where the sample was positive, the trainer gave the dog a reward, such as its favorite toy. At this point, the researchers made the test harder by adding negative samples and moving the location of the positive samples.

Dozens of these trials were completed, and four out of eight dogs scored perfectly. Even the dog that did the worst found 8 out of 10 COVID positive samples.

Similar findings have been reported from testing conducted in Brazil, Australia, Lebanon, and Argentina.

How Do Dogs Have This Ability?

Hartford Healthcare explains it in this way. When we get a disease, it causes a complex metabolic change to occur in our bodies. This can cause gas molecules called volatile organic compounds or VOCs to be emitted from our pores.

Not only can dogs smell these VOCs, they can actually distinguish between one and another. When a dog “detects COVID-19” what they are really detecting is how your immune response is reacting to the disease.

If this all seems too hard to believe, keep in mind that a dog’s nose is somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 times more sensitive than ours, or any other mechanical device that we can create.

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