Trials are underway to see if dogs could provide a non-invasive way to detect the coronavirus.
Six dogs – Labradors and Cocker Spaniels – will receive samples of the smell of COVID-19[female[feminine London hospital patients, and learned to distinguish their smell from that of uninfected people.
The UK government has allocated £ 500,000 in funding for the trials, which will be part of research into possible non-invasive ways to detect the virus early.
The research will be conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the University of Durham, and the Medical Detection Dogs charity.
Medical Detection Dogs said it has trained dogs to detect certain cancers, Parkinson’s and malaria, and that its research shows that dogs can be trained to detect the smell of the disease at a dilution of one teaspoon sugar coffee in two Olympic water pools.
Dr. Claire Guest, co-founder and CEO of Medical Detection Dogs, said, “They have the potential to help by quickly screening people, which could be vital in the future.
“We are sure our dogs will be able to find the smell of COVID-19 and we will then go to a second phase to test them in real situations, after which we hope to work with other agencies to train more dogs for deployment. “
“We are extremely proud that a dog’s nose can once again save many lives. “
If the tests are successful, each dog could test up to 250 people per hour and be used in places such as airports.
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Professor James Logan, head of the disease control department at LSHTM, said: “If successful, this approach could revolutionize the way we detect the virus, with the potential to screen large numbers of people. “
Innovation Minister James Bethell said, “Bio-sensing dogs are already detecting specific cancers and we believe this innovation could provide rapid results as part of our broader testing strategy.
“Accuracy is essential, so this test will tell us if” Covid dogs “can reliably detect the virus and stop its spread. “
Similar trials are taking place in the United States and France.