Bees can smell very well, they can detect a flower from miles away. In Lelystad it was investigated with 150 of these animals whether they could be trained quickly to detect samples infected with SARS-CoV-2 or corona. Those samples were simply taken with a cotton swab.
Every time the bees were exposed to the scent of an infected monster they received a sugar water reward. The bees put out their tongues to collect the sugar water. By repeating this action several times, the bees associated the sugar reward with the scent and started sticking their tongues out for the scent alone, with no reward. ‘ Tongue sticking out can be detected with a biosensor, which has also been developed.
According to the researchers, the method has ‘the potential to be very reliable’, because it works with three to five bees per diagnosis. They cannot give exact success rates yet.