Sidi Drici is the happy owner of a Belgian shepherd Malinois that thanks to her sense of smell, is able to recognize the Covid-19. Her talents are such that several countries have contacted her owner to learn his training technique.
A 7-year-old dog, who could already detect cancer in patients, was able to detect the coronavirus in the lab. As a result the French Ministry of Health has become interested in developing training on this ability of dogs to detect disease.
He is an installer of heating systems and perhaps it will be thanks to him that the Covid-19 screening could be performed immediately, which could help with early treatments and most importantly keep those who are asymptomatic carriers from infecting others. Sidi Drici trained his 7-year-old dog to detect gas leaks. “I used to spend hours looking for leaks,” he explains.
Today, his Belgian shepherd can smell molecules of gas and trace them to the leak within a radius of 4 km, at a maximum depth of 2.85 meters, over a period of 5 to 10 minutes. “The hardest part of the training technique was getting them to go to the leak.” This has already been achieved. “In 2019, I was even awarded the Hero Dog Trophy in the category of civilian dogs.”
She spotted the Covid-19 in 25 minutes, tops
The dog’s sense of smell is so developed and is trained to recognize several different molecules, that she can now detect breast and prostate cancers in 20 to 120 seconds. It’s a feat because she’s used to tracking odors in large outdoor spaces. When used in an enclosed space, where the number of odors is therefore limited, “the smells of cancer increase tenfold”. It’s like walking into a room and asking where the TV is”, says her teacher. It’s a gift from God to one of Paris’ hospitals, which uses his services but wants to keep a low profile.
In this time of crisis, and given the workload that Covid-19 test analysis imposes on medical teams, the dog’s talent has not gone unnoticed. Contacted by an English laboratory, whose name he keeps secret for the time being, Sidi Drici went to London with his dog to perform tests. To test the dog’s abilities the researchers used 12 bottles, one of which contained SARS-CoV-2. “She found it in 25 minutes, tops,” he said happily.
As a result of this success, he was contacted by many countries, including Russia, Italy, Portugal and Turkey, all eager to buy his training technique and open training centers. “The French Ministry of Health has made it clear to me that it would be good for this ability to be recognized as French”, he explains. But I have my conditions: I want to have 6 hectares (15 acres) of land available for the opening of this training center and I want recruitment to be organized around integration.
Sidi Drici, who opened the first solidarity pizzeria in France, whose principle is to offer a homeless person a meal for every 2 pizzas sold, and who has offered 50 pizzas a week to the nursing staff of the Melun hospital since the beginning of the confinement.
We know that the maximum incubation period of Covid-19 is around 14 days, during which a carrier has time to directly or indirectly contaminate hundreds of other people. Detecting the virus as quickly as possible would allow patients to be isolated in quarantines before symptoms appear, thus limiting the possibility of transmission from person to person.