Dogs are joining the fight against COVID-19, with it hoped that they can identify the smell of the Coronavirus.
Dogs, which have an enhanced sense of smell, have already been working in a variety of settings for years to sniff out cancers, Parkinson’s disease and improvised explosive devices. A medical charity that has successfully trained dogs to detect malaria is now hoping that they can train dogs to identify the smell of COVID-19.
The Medical Detection Dogs charity is working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University to explore the potential for dogs to reliably detect the virus. If initial trials are successful, there are plans to train six dogs. As part of the training, it is believed the dogs would be given Coronavirus patients’ face masks to sniff to see if the virus has a unique odour.
Professor James Logan from LSHTM said;
“It’s early days for COVID-19 odor detection. We do not know if COVID-19 has a specific odor yet, but we know that other respiratory diseases change our body odor so there is a chance that it does.
“And if it does, dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionize our response to COVID-19.”
The Medical Detection Dogs charity has produced more than 12 peer-reviewed papers during their work training dogs and has described its approach as “rigorously scientific”.