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Background: Dogs can be trained to identify several substances not detected by humans, corresponding to specific Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The presence of VOCs, triggered by SARS-CoV-2 infection, was tested in sweat from long COVID patients.
Patients and methods: An axillary sweat sample of long COVID patients and of COVID-19 negative, asymptomatic individuals was taken at home to avoid any hospital contact. Swabs were randomly placed in olfaction detection cones, and the material sniffed by at least 2 trained dogs.
Results: Forty-five long COVID patients, mean age 45 (6-71), 73.3% female, with prolonged symptoms evolving for a mean of 15.2 months (5-22) were tested. Dogs discriminated in a positive way 23/45 (51.1%) long COVID patients versus 0/188 (0%) control healthy individuals (p<.0001).
Conclusion: Our data provide arguments for the persistence of viral antigens at least in some long COVID patients and raise the possibility of future therapeutic options.
Published Date: 2022-02-21; Received Date: 2022-01-25