ER Editor: One detail in this story strikes us – this program has been ongoing for 15 months, around the time French people – a few anyway – were actually reporting ‘Covid’ symptoms, i.e. those that the government told us were due to ‘Covid’. Dog deployment was clearly part of the citizen-surveillance approach from way back, in addition to digital health passports.
To let us know who approves of this military-style ‘security’ measure (or instigated it), here’s a WEF tweet from 2 months ago:
We recommend readers check out at least two tweet responses (here and here) to the WEF post. Here’s one photo to give us a flavour:
Covid-19: sniffer dogs as soon as this summer in France, hopes the Ministry of Health
In addition to the sanitary pass, the government wishes that sniffer dogs locate the carriers of the coronavirus.
CORONAVIRUS – “The health pass? With our dogs, it would be much better”. Dominique Grandjean, a professor at the National Veterinary School of Alfort-EnvA, is jubilant after fifteen months of trial and error. Thanks in part to his work, seeing dogs participate in Covid-19 screening operations in festive and recreational areas is now within reach.
The Ministry of Health told the HuffPost this Saturday, May 22, its desire to deploy sniffer dogs in France “from this summer, following the very encouraging results of the SALICOV study” conducted by Professor Grandjean in collaboration with the AP-HP, the ARS and the Regional Council of Ile-de-France, and the Nosaïs team of the EnvA.
The government is speeding up the implementation of this Covid-19 screening system, which was mentioned at the beginning of the epidemic but whose effectiveness had not yet been demonstrated on a satisfactory scale. The publication by the AP-HP on Wednesday 19 May of the results of an experiment conducted on 335 volunteers by Professor Grandjean in the spring changes the situation.
Leyko, Joye, Oxmo and six other sniffer dogs guided by firemen from Yvelines and Oise have proved to be as reliable – and much faster – than a PCR test to detect the coronavirus. From compresses containing the sweat of the screened persons, the dogs of the program detected 97% of the positives (previously identified by PCR without the dog handlers knowing who was carrying the virus), with only 6% of false negatives.
On another positive note, EnvA says the dogs are also able to detect variants. “To date, we know that dogs mark the English, South African, and Brazilian variants without problems,” the school writes on its website. “We look forward to testing on the Indian variant as soon as samples come in.”
Dogs detect the asymptomatics
“These results are convincing and impressive, even if they are not yet published in a scientific journal,” Franck Perez, research director at the Institut Curie, independent of the study, confirms to HuffPost. “The dogs didn’t let any asymptomatic patients through,” adds Professor Grandjean, with pride. This is a major advantage, because isolating asymptomatic patients remains the key to health care.
Thus, dogs could target people who should be screened “virologically” (rapid antigenic or PCR) in mass gatherings (festivals, sports competitions, concerts) planned as part of the progressive decontamination. A paw at the entrance, to avoid embarking Covid-19 patients in large gatherings conducive to the spread of the virus, at a time when the arrival of the health pass makes some French people cringe.
The Ministry of Health is currently studying the practical details of such a deployment, “in support of the reopening of major sporting and cultural events” where the health pass will be in force but also in stations, airports, as well as in Ehpads (ER: old people’s homes), all places where dogs could be useful, according to the Ministry of Health. Olivier Véran’s office specifies that he is working on the census of the dogs that can be mobilized, following these good results.
It is now time to put it into practice, in everyday situations. “We are working on making it more reliable over time (regular upgrading of dogs, for example) and on simplifying the process so that it is acceptable and effective,” says the Ministry of Health in relation to other French research teams working on the issue.
“It requires a bit of adaptation.”
To be truly effective, canines need to be trained in crowd contact. Sniffing humans rather than pads is more perilous: “Dogs observe our behaviors. To obtain a reward, they can sometimes act according to our attitudes rather than smells”, moderates the researcher Isabelle Fromantin of the Kdog program, aiming to detect cancer in this way. Hence the need for conventional screening as a complement, once potential virus carriers have been identified in the waiting lines.
“Working directly on a person takes a bit of adaptation, but it is possible, probably before this summer. We hope that the Ministry will provide human resources and simplified research protocols to move forward as quickly as possible,” says Professor Grandjean, who is already preparing new protocols:
“Dogs could sniff the masks of travelers or athletes before a major competition, as a first step. A test is planned in the next weeks with the rugby club of the Union Bordeaux-Bègles.”
The veterinarian also aims at a drastic reduction of the training time of the dogs. From 6 weeks currently, this period could fall to 2-3 days, estimates the veterinarian, thanks to the development of a “decoy”, an object containing only the odor released by the Covid-19 in the sweat, on which the dogs could learn directly instead of learning on volunteers.
41 countries already use sniffer dogs
Dominique Grandjean was one of the first people in the world to think about dogs, and he fought to have his intuition recognized. France has repeatedly expressed interest in this work, but until now has preferred to obtain precise data on the effectiveness of dogs before using them – in line with the recommendations of the French Academy of Medicine and the French Veterinary Academy.
So in parallel, Prof. Grandjean trained other countries interested in his expertise and who wanted to move quickly: “We are piloting 41 countries that benefit from our advice. Dogs are used in Lebanese, Emirati, Argentinean, Chilean, Spanish queues… but not in France”, regrets the veterinarian. So much evidence, according to him, that his protocol works in practice.
Contacted by Le HuffPost, the High Authority of Health indicated that it was not for the moment able to pronounce on the implementation of this method and on its effectiveness under current health conditions.
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