France trains eight dogs to detect coronavirus - GulfToday

France trains eight dogs to detect coronavirus


A woman teaches her dog to find a piece of fabric that was infected with the COVID-19 during a training session in Maison-Alfort on Thursday. AFP

France has trained a group of dogs to detect the novel coronavirus, thanks to their sense of smell.

Dogtrainer1A policeman teaches his dog to find a piece of fabric that was infected with the COVID-19 bacteria. AFP

The initiative was directed by by Professor Dominique Grandjean of the National Veterinary School of Alfort, near Paris. Eight dogs have become part of the latest initiative to tackle COVID-19 in France.

DogNoseA Malinois dogs looks on as it is taught to find a piece of fabric infected with the COVID-19 bacteria during a training session. AFP

These animals are being trained in Ajaccio on the French island of Corsica to detect a possible smell of the virus, as part of a trial conducted by veterinarians and firemen.

Named Nosais, this research, developed by Professor Dominique Grandjean, plans to experiment with cynotechnical skills in order to detect particular odours that could be emitted by patients who are positive for the coronavirus.

DogtrainerWomanA woman teaches her dog to find a piece of fabric that was infected with the COVID-19 bacteria during a training session. AFP

"If we manage to validate this experiment, the aim is to provide a complementary solution to the tests that already exist" to detect the disease, Aymeric Bernard, chief veterinarian and dog-technical adviser to the Fire and Rescue Service of South Corsica (SIS 2A) which is taking part in the project.

"The hospital needs numerous and reliable means of screening. Today, the PCR test has a reliability of 70%. We therefore need to cross-reference this test with other types of screening,” the director of the Ajaccio hospital, Jean-Luc Pesce, said.

TrainerA policeman soaks pieces of fabric with samples of the COVID-19 bacteria in order to prepare a training session for dogs. AFP

 With the support of the Prefecture of Corse-du-Sud, the Regional Health Agency of Corsica, and the Ajaccio Hospitals of Mercy and Eugenia, six Malinois shepherds and a Cursinu bitch from the Corsican Fire Brigade are being tested on the site of a future veterinary clinic.

"These dogs are usually used to look for people who have disappeared or are buried under a cave-in," says Aymeric Benard.

In a separate development, scientists in the US and Japan have documented new evidence that cats can readily become infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus and may be able to pass the virus to other cats.

Published in the prestigious the New England Journal of Medicine, the study led by University of Wisconsin-Madison suggested that cats may be capable of becoming infected with the virus when exposed to people or other cats positive for SARS-CoV-2.

New research follows a study published in Science by scientists at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences that also showed cats (and ferrets) could become infected with and potentially transmit the virus.

"Cats are still much more likely to get COVID-19 from you, rather than you get it from a cat," said Keith Poulsen, director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Yoshihiro Kawaoka, professor of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin's School of Veterinary Medicine led the study, in which researchers administered to three cats SARS-CoV-2 isolated from a human patient.

The following day, the researchers swabbed the nasal passages of the cats and were able to detect the virus in two of the animals.

Within three days, they detected the virus in all of the cats.

The day after the researchers administered virus to the first three cats, they placed another cat in each of their cages. Researchers did not administer SARS-CoV-2 virus to these cats.


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