Sniffer dogs could pick up stealth Covid cases at football matches BEFORE tests can detect viral load
SNIFFER dogs could pick up the earliest Covid cases at football matches before tests can detect an infection.
Trials carried out at a Belgian football club saw the clever hounds sniff out coronavirus in people more than a week before nasal swabs caught cases.
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The K9 Detection sniffer dog company say they had "spectacular" results from the pilot.
They found a "corona odour" is able to be found by the dogs from the first day of infection.
KV Oostende players, had armpit swabs for the dogs to smell and PCR tests for the labs over several months.
Johan Weckhuyzen told De Standaard: “In 99.5 per cent of the cases, our finding was in line with the result of the PCR test.
“There were players who tested negative via PCR, but were found to be positive with us. Eight or nine days later they turned out to be positive.
“If they had followed our result, the infected player would have been quarantined earlier and the virus would not have spread further in the group of players.”
Mr Weckhuyzen thinks the trial could pave the way to open up football matches for thousands of fans – with the dogs checking people coming in.
He said: “We must take up every opportunity to reopen our lives.
“Having several thousand people take a PCR test before they are allowed to come to football is financially and practically impossible.”
It comes after Dubai Airport deployed dogs able to sniff out 92 per cent of passengers who are infected with Covid-19.
The new sniffer dog scheme works by taking samples from passengers armpits before it is placed inside a container in an isolated room.
Specially-trained canines then sniff the samples through a funnel-like contraption.
If they detect coronavirus, the passenger is then directed to take the nasal PCR test.
The dogs never come in direct contact with the passengers.
This method has been used to detect several other diseases that can affect body odour such as cancer and malaria.
And dogs in the UK have been trained to sniff out Covd super spreaders by smelling patients socks.
A team of just six dogs could screen 4,500 people a day for Covid-19.
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