Video_1_Discrimination of SARS-CoV-2 Infections From Other Viral Respiratory Infections by Scent Detection Dogs.MOV
Background: Testing of possibly infected individuals remains cornerstone of containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Detection dogs could contribute to mass screening. Previous research demonstrated canines' ability to detect SARS-CoV-2-infections but has not investigated if dogs can differentiate between COVID-19 and other virus infections.
Methods: Twelve dogs were trained to detect SARS-CoV-2 positive samples. Three test scenarios were performed to evaluate their ability to discriminate SARS-CoV-2-infections from viral infections of a different aetiology. Naso- and oropharyngeal swab samples from individuals and samples from cell culture both infected with one of 15 viruses that may cause COVID-19-like symptoms were presented as distractors in a randomised, double-blind study. Dogs were either trained with SARS-CoV-2 positive saliva samples (test scenario I and II) or with supernatant from cell cultures (test scenario III).
Results: When using swab samples from individuals infected with viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 as distractors (test scenario I), dogs detected swab samples from SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals with a mean diagnostic sensitivity of 73.8% (95% CI: 66.0–81.7%) and a specificity of 95.1% (95% CI: 92.6–97.7%). In test scenario II and III cell culture supernatant from cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, cells infected with other coronaviruses and non-infected cells were presented. Dogs achieved mean diagnostic sensitivities of 61.2% (95% CI: 50.7–71.6%, test scenario II) and 75.8% (95% CI: 53.0–98.5%, test scenario III), respectively. The diagnostic specificities were 90.9% (95% CI: 87.3–94.6%, test scenario II) and 90.2% (95% CI: 81.1–99.4%, test scenario III), respectively.
Conclusion: In all three test scenarios the mean specificities were above 90% which indicates that dogs can distinguish SARS-CoV-2-infections from other viral infections. However, compared to earlier studies our scent dogs achieved lower diagnostic sensitivities. To deploy COVID-19 detection dogs as a reliable screening method it is therefore mandatory to include a variety of samples from different viral respiratory tract infections in dog training to ensure a successful discrimination process.
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