Sniffer dogs could be used to detect people infected with coronavirus
Share article:
Share article:

Sniffer dogs could be used to detect people infected with coronavirus

© Belga

Using sniffer dogs to detect people who are infected with the coronavirus in crowds could be possible in future, but the research is still preliminary at the moment.

“Preliminary studies show that dogs are able to distinguish between samples from infected patients and non-infected patients,” said virologist and interfederal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht during a press conference on Monday. “They do not smell the virus, but they smell the body’s response to the virus.”

“From the past, we also know that dogs are able to smell other diseases in humans, such as tuberculosis or certain cancers,” Van Gucht said.

“Theoretically, dogs might be used to pick out infected people in places in crowds, such as airports or other busy places, but this is still a theoretical concept,” Van Gucht said.

Related News:


Additionally, dogs can also be infected with the virus. “They are not as susceptible to the virus as cats, but in principle it is possible,” Van Gucht said. “So, we have to make sure that such a dog does not get infected itself, and then unintentionally carry it around while tracking.”

The studies are preliminary, and have not yet been put into practice, according to Van Gucht.

Last week, professor Chris Callewaert of the university of Ghent, a specialist in microbial ecology, asked people – both infected and healthy ones – to send samples of their sweat to his lab.

“If we can determine how the smell of sweat is structured by infected people, dogs can pick up that smell,” Callewaert said.

He aims to train dogs to detect the particular odour that the virus which causes Covid-19 gives to the sweat of those who are infected.

Ultimately, the dogs can then be deployed at events where large groups of people are gathered – if and when those are once again allowed.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Commission outlines possible action against the rule of law crisis in Poland
In a speech at the European Parliament plenary on Tuesday morning, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen listed three options for action against ...
PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory
Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in ...
Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...
Lidl reopens all Belgian shops as strike actions end
Lidl has confirmed that all its shops in Belgium will reopen on Tuesday following six days of closure across various branches due to strike actions. ...
Brussels Christmas Market will once again return on 26 November
It may only be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...
Brussels pharmacies report rush on rapid tests due to Covid Safe Ticket
Many pharmacists in Brussels have noticed a remarkable increase in the demand for Covid-19 tests this weekend, following the official expansion of ...
Students filmed naked on ULB campus given a warning
A group of students caught on camera mimicking sexual acts on the campus of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) have been issued an official ...
12 non-EU countries connected to the EU Digital Covid Certificate
The European Commission adopted on Monday a report on the EU Digital Covid Certificate and its implementation across the EU. According to the ...
Belgian chocolatier agrees to $15 million settlement over misled consumers allegations
Internationally recognised Belgian chocolate manufacturer Godiva has reached a $15 million (€12.9 million) settlement after US consumers said they ...
‘Buying second home does not mean you are rich’: government disagrees on tax break
The Francophone liberal MR party and the Flemish socialist Vooruit party strongly disagree on the current scheme for tax benefits on people's second ...