Covid: sniffer dogs soon to be used in Île-de-France to detect coronavirus?

Published by Caroline J. · Published on 16 February 2021 at 12h22 · Updated on 16 February 2021 at 15h20
What if sniffer dogs were the solution to help and detect Covid-19 positive cases? The Île-de-France region intends to launch an experiment this Wednesday February 17, 2021 in several Île-de-France areas. Here is more on the matter.

Is France about to use the sniffer-dog-technique to detect Covid-19 positive cases too? Already instated in several countries such as Chile, Belgium, Lebanon and even the United Arab Emirates, the technique of the Coronavirus sniffer dogs is to be tested very soon in Île-de-France. According to Cnews, an experiment is to be launched this Wednesday February 17 in several Île-de-France areas “especially within the Cité des métiers de l’Essonne, the Paris-Est Créteil University and even within AP-HP testing centers”. On the occasion, Île-de-France Region President Valérie Pécresse and Vice-President in charge of Solidarities, Health and Family Farida Adlani will visit the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort (Alfort veterinary school) this Wednesday morning.

Proposed in partnership with the Île-de-France region, the Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort, the AP-HP and the French Red Cross, this experiment aims at “scientifically confirm” in France “the efficacy of this testing technique already used in several countries” around the world.

This wide experiment, to gather 2,000 people, will be a first in France. Yet, for the record, Covid-19 sniffer dogs are already being tested in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.


Tweet reads: “THEY TALK ABOUT IT – This past Sunday, TF1’s news broadcast covered the project supported by Ceva France, EnvA, Bordeaux university hospital and Nouvelle-Aquitaine region to show dogs’ ability to detect #Covid19. Worth watching

 And results are encouraging. The five dogs taking part in the test are able to detect 95% of positive Covid cases. “Dogs are able to spot the virus not only in someone symptomatic but also in an infected and asymptomatic patient” Bordeaux University Hospital Pr. Denis Malvy told TF1.

How will the experiment take place in Île-de-France? Volunteers will have to take three tests, namely a standard PCR tests, a saliva test and a compression test. Then, these tests are given to Covid-19 sniffer dogs.

The canine sense of smell is 40 times more developed than humans’, professor Dominique Grandjean told Le Figaro, as he managed this innovative project called Nosaïs-Covid-19. In concrete words, dogs are trained for weeks to detect the smell of Covid-19. With a team of 4 people, head of Alfort veterinary school Medicine, Training and Sport Unit Director Grandjean has started to work on this technique back to this past May. “The first week, samples from several positive cases have been put in a cone so that [the dogs] can smell it. The second week, neutral smells have been included, then, the third week, the smells of negative cases have been added. This phase lasts two weeks. The last week, they are given lines with no positive cases so that they can learn to be rewarded even though they find nothing” the professor explained in Le Figaro.

If these tests end up encouraging, then the Covid-19 sniffer dogs may be deployed “at the entrances of borders, in airports or in harbor areas” an Alfort veterinary school lecturer-searcher told Cnews.

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