COLUMBUS, Ohio – One of the more frightening aspects of the COVID pandemic is the development of SARS-COV2 variants with altered transmission rates. The Delta variant, which is the most common, is highly transmissible and currently accounts for over 90% of new infections in the United States. Bio-Detection K9 (BDK9) is pleased to announce it has developed proprietary techniques for training dogs to detect SARS-COV2 at 97-99% accuracy levels.
The proprietary training aids, which were developed by BDK9 Chief Research Scientist Dr. William Schneider, teach the dogs to directly detect the virus itself, not the host response generated by sick human beings. Using proprietary technology to elevate canine scent detection thresholds, BDK9 teams can detect extremely subtle amounts of viral antigens that infected individuals shed through their skin. By simply sniffing a hand, their sensitive nostrils can indicate the presence of the COVID-19 virus within a matter of seconds, offering an additional layer of screening protocol to ensure safety against COVID-19 and other pathogens.
“We understood the severity of this new strain of COVID-19, so we came together to ensure we could detect it. As new threats emerge, we will stay at the forefront of scientific research and training protocols and continue to prepare our dogs to offer a more effective service to the public,” Jerry Johnson, BDK9 President, stated.
The approach that was used to create the initial training aid focused on the original Alpha variant of COVID-19. Fortunately, that same approach can be used to rapidly generate training aids that represent other SARS-COV2 variants. “All of the SARS-COV2 variants are significant in terms of their changed biology,” commented Dr. Schneider. “But in terms of genetics, all of the variants are very closely related. We’re very confident that the scent profiles of the variants, which is how the dogs detect the virus, will be nearly identical. Still, because of the prevalence and risk associated with the new variants, it was critical for us to test the ability of our dogs to find all variants.”
Dr. Schneider anticipates more variants before the pandemic is controlled or eliminated, which is why BDK9 is in the process of synthesizing training aids that represent the Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. “We anticipate testing our dogs’ capacity to detect all of these variants by the end of the month,” he said.
BDK9 has been in the business of using dogs to detect viruses, bacteria, and fungus for over a decade in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture and other government agencies. The company plans to channel efforts toward deploying COVID-detecting canine assets around the world, aiding the general population in resuming social and sporting events safely. Looking ahead, they plan to address upcoming biologic and medical challenges in a sustainable fashion, revolutionizing the way the world views a canine’s ability to detect and prevent health concerns on a global scale.