Switzerland trains sniffer dogs for detecting COVID-19

Geneva: Researchers in Switzerland have launched a training trial to see if sniffer dogs can find out people infected with COVID-19.

Three dogs are being trained by researchers from Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) for four weeks by exposing to samples of sick and healthy people, after which the dogs will go through a sweat-sniffing test to see if they can identify infected individuals, said the hospitals in an online statement on Tuesday.

If successful, “the use of dogs for screening for COVID-19 could be considered in Switzerland,” said the statement.

The study, as a collaboration among HUG, the largest university hospital in Switzerland, and the Swiss Army and United Nations Department of Safety and Security, is expected to have a final result by March.

Initial results from France, Germany and several other countries have shown that trained sniffer dogs are able to recognize people with COVID-19 infections, the statement said.

Sniffer dog could be an inexpensive, relatively simple and friendly alternative of screening methods currently used for slowing down COVID-19 transmission, said Dr Manuel Schibler, physician of the Infectious Diseases Department at HUG.

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