Bees Can Detect Covid-19 by Sniffing Volatile Chemicals

May, 2021 - By SMI

Bees Can Detect Covid-19 by Sniffing Volatile Chemicals

Detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the olfactory sensation of bees, might pose a lot of importance for countries.

Covid-19 in its outbreak has claimed many lives, since 2019. The fight against this coronavirus has took a toll in health-care department with all the scientists and other medical professional looking for every alternative approach to control the situation. From its onset scientists are constantly looking for newer method of treatment as well as new detection method.

Recently, a very unusual method has invented by the Dutch scientist, for the detection of this SARS-CoV-2. The method involved, detection through the olfactory sensation of bees. In each and every disease, especially in case of almost all respiratory diseases, human body emits certain volatile chemical agent. These volatile chemical agents are actually specific to that disease and therefore act as markers.

Animals used in the detection of Covid-19 affected individuals is not uncommon these days. A prime example is the use of the sniffer dogs by many countries in many of their public areas. And it’s kind of acting as the rapid Covid detection method with greater efficiency as well.

Honey bees, rather an unusual being have an enriched olfactory capacity, which lured the scientists to try this method. This method might be very useful for lower economy countries, as conventional lab tests methods are a bit expensive.

Scientists of Wageningen University, used Pavlov’s theory, to train the honey bees. Around 150 honey bees were imposed with the positive samples for a certain time interval and each time after the sensation of the positive sample they were given sugar solution as their rewards. Honey bees when presented with positive samples, they protrude their proboscis to sense the sample.

This method created a particular type of adaption in them therefore if presented with a negative sample they will therefore not drink the sugar solution, giving proper result of detection.  However exact method of their detection capability is not known completely, however the idea of this “bee-sniffing” might pose a lot of importance for countries with economically weaker and also with lesser availability of PCR based tests.

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