A team of Dutch scientists is seeking help from an unusual group of participants for a new type of COVID-19 rapid test: bees are specially trained to detect the virus.
Emerging Insect Researchers and Announced by Wageningen University in the Netherlands Press release This week, they trained more than 150 bees to identify samples of the virus that causes COVID-19 based on its odor.
As part of the study, the team rewarded the bees with a water-sugar solution whenever they came across an infected specimen because the bees could stretch out their tongues and find a solution.
Bees can be trained in minutes to detect inconsistencies and odors due to their sensitivity to odors, and then associate the gift with positive patterns and start sticking out their tongues after being exposed to the smell of COVID-19, the researchers said.
The scientists said the study showed very good results, with only a small number of false positives and false negatives recorded.
According to a press release, InsectSense has developed a prototype machine that can train bees to detect the virus, which scientists hope to adopt in low-income countries where access to materials for chain reaction tests by polymerase is limited.
“It’s not in all labs, especially in low – income countries,” said Wim van der Bolle, a professor at Wageningen University. Washington Post.
He added: “Bees are everywhere and the device is not very complicated.”
Although the results of the study have not yet been published in a journal or in a peer-review journal, van der Boyle told the newspaper that he believes a COVID-19 test for bees can reach 95% accuracy using several insects per sample.
“Our first goal is to prove that we can train bees, that’s where we succeed,” he told the newspaper. “Now we are counting and we continue to work to find out how sensitive the method is.”
Bee research comes as others hire dogs to help test for COVID-19, including NASCAR It was announced last month The use of specially trained fangs pulls out the required labor in a race on the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
That same month, a Thai trainer who ran a program to help dogs detect the virus said the animals were able to do so. 95 percent accuracy Over a period of six months.