Train Bees to Detect COVID-19
May 17, 2021
A crisis can spark innovation through novel experiments.
Dutch researchers are training about 150 bees to detect COVID-19 using their powerful sense of smell. The study is inspired by research by the US Department of Defense, which used moths, bees, and wasps to detect bombs, poisons, and even tuberculosis.
Training involves getting bees to remember the scent of COVID-19 and receiving a reward when they correctly identify it. When the insects extend their tongues for a reward, this confirms that the sample contains COVID-19.
This method could speed up testing and help countries with too few test kits, although research is still at the experimental stage.