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Bees can help recognize people infected with Covid-19 in a matter of minutes, say scientists

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This technology may be effective for diagnosing people in poor countries, but this approach has yet to be scaled up.

In the Netherlands, scientists at the University of Wageningen taught bees to identify people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus by smell. The results of the experiment were reported in the press service of the educational institution.

They reported that 150 bees took part in the study. Scientists trained the insects by giving them a treat – a solution of water and sugar – every time they smelled infected specimens. Then the bees unfolded their tongues and collected the sweet water.

In the end, thanks to their natural sensitivity, insects began to identify infected specimens in a matter of seconds and unfold their tongue around them without reward.

The coronavirus, like other diseases, causes metabolic changes in the body that causes a smell. Bees can be trained within minutes to recognize the scent of samples infected with SARS-CoV-2

the scientists explained.

They believe such technology could be effective in diagnosing people in poor countries.

The next step is to work on the scalability of this approach. Bees are globally accessible, so the only thing people need is a machine to be able to train bees.

the university’s press office said.

They also noted that InsectSense has already developed prototypes of a machine that can automatically train several bees at the same time, and a biosensor that uses trained bees for diagnosis.

Image Credit: iStock

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