UK Researchers Training Dogs to Detect the Scent of COVID-19

Monday, March 30, 2020 - 14:48

UK researchers are trying to train dogs to sniff out the scent of coronavirus, known as covid-19.

According to the New Atlas report, researchers at Durham University, who are working with experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) along with the charity Medical Detection Dogs have launched the project in order to help stop covid-19 spread.

“Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odors from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy – above the World Health Organization standards for a diagnostic,” says Professor James Logan, Head of the Department of Disease Control at LSHTM.

“We know that other respiratory diseases like COVID-19, change our body odor so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionize our response to COVID-19 in the short term, but particularly in the months to come, and could be profoundly impactful.”

Another way dogs may be able to detect those carrying COVID-19 is through subtle changes in their skin temperature, which may be indicative of a fever.

According to the researchers, the trained canines could supplement existing screening methods, and could potentially triage as many as 250 people an hour. They will teach the dogs using the same methods previously employed to train dogs to detect cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections, which means exposing them to samples in a room and teaching them to determine which are carrying disease or infection.

Sources: Durham University, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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