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Pandemic or pandemonium? Creating standards for medical detection dogs – Presented by Dr Cynthia Otto

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic lead to an international effort to employ odor detection dogs for the screening of individuals for COVID-19. It was documented across many platforms that the dogs were capable of discriminating odor of people that tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from those that tested negative. The rapid nature of canine screening and urgency of the pandemic led to multiple organizations training dogs, with some dogs being deployed into operational settings. One of the key components of a valid test is to have documentation of training and testing standards. The process of standards development relies on scientific data and expert opinion to generate recommended methods for training, testing and operational usage. In the US, the National Institute of Standards and Technology supports the development of standards relevant to forensic science. This presentation will address the rationale for and the process of standards development as it relates to medical detection dogs for conditions like COVID-19 that impact biosecurity.

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