Trained Dogs Can Identify COVID-19 Infections?

“With inputs from Dr Monica Vasudev”

India

healthy soch

New Delhi, July 31, 2020:

After some training, dogs may be able to sniff out and identify people who are infected with the coronavirus, according to a study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

Eight dogs, which are part of the German Armed Forces, were trained for a week to detect the virus in samples of saliva. Then they were given more than 1,000 infected and non-infected samples and were able to detect 94% of cases. They correctly identified 157 positive samples and 792 negative samples but missed 30 positive samples and gave false positives for 33 samples.

The study was a small pilot project tested by the German Armed Forces, the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover and the Hanover Medical School.

Dogs are able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients.

Trained dogs could be sent to airports, borders and sporting events to detect infections.

Within the medical field, dogs have been trained to detect cancer, malaria, and other bacterial and viral infections. [Medscape]

  • Study details cardiovascular effects of COVID-19

As per a study published in JAMA Cardiology, cardiac inflammatory involvement is frequent among patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19 infection, regardless of pre-existing conditions. In a cohort of 100 German patients recently recovered from infection, cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) revealed cardiac involvement in 78% and ongoing myocardial inflammation in 60%.

Cardiac involvement occurred irrespective of infection severity, overall course of COVID-19 presentation, the time from the original diagnosis, or the presence of cardiac symptoms.

The prospective observational study included patients who recovered from COVID-19 between April and June 2020. All patients included were at least 2 weeks out from being diagnosed with COVID-19, had resolution of respiratory symptoms, and had negative results on a swab test at the end of the isolation period.

Of the patients, 53 were male, with a median age of 49 years. The median time interval between COVID-19 diagnosis and CMR was 71 days. Of the patients, 67 recovered at home, while 33 required hospitalisation. Pre-existing conditions included hypertension, diabetes, and known coronary artery disease, but no previously known heart failure or cardiomyopathy was reported. Pre-existing conditions were similar between patients who recovered at home and patients who were hospitalised.

At the time of CMR, high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTnT) was detectable (≥3 pg/mL) in 71 patients and significantly elevated (≥13.9 pg/mL) in 5 patients. In addition, patients recently recovered from COVID-19 had lower left ventricular ejection fraction, higher left ventricle volumes, higher left ventricle mass, and raised native T1 and T2 compared with both control groups.

The most prevalent abnormality on CMR was myocardial inflammation, defined as abnormal native T1 and T2 measures, which was detected in 73 and 60 patients, respectively, followed by regional scar and pericardial enhancement, which was detected in 32 and 22 patients, respectively. Findings on classic parameters, such as volumes and ejection fractions, were mildly abnormal.

There was a small but significant difference in native T1 mapping between patients who recovered at home versus patients who were hospitalised (median, 1122 ms vs 1143 ms; P = .02), but not for native T2 ,hsTnT, or N-terminal pro-b-type natriuretic peptide levels. Nonetheless, none of these measures were correlated with time from COVID-19 diagnosis.

Levels of hsTnT were significantly correlated with native T1 mapping (P < .001) and native T2 mapping (P = .03). There was also a cross-correlation between native T1 and T2 (P < .001). Additionally, the authors noted a significant correlation of hsTnT with native T1 (P < .001) and left ventricle mass (P < .001). The associations of hsTnT with mapping measures remained significant despite controlling for the presence of comorbidities (overall or separately) or treatment received for COVID-19 infection.

Unlike these previous studies, the findings reveal that significant cardiac involvement occurs independently of the severity of original presentation and persists beyond the period of acute presentation, with no significant trend toward reduction of imaging or serological findings during the recovery period.

Author : Dr K Aggarwal, President CMAAO

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