A research charity in England, Medical Detection Dogs, is working on training dogs to detect coronavirus following their success against various illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and bacterial infections.
According to the charity, their Bio-Detection dogs are capable of sniffing out the distinct odor of different diseases with ‘extremely high accuracy’ and they are following an approach where the dogs are intensively trained to smell various samples including coronaviruses.
The dogs are offered a treat on each successful attempt as part of their training in Milton Keynes in England.
Aiming to make a huge difference with the project, Claire Guest, founder, and chief executive of Medical Detection Dogs said:
We believe dogs can detect COVID-19 and will be able to screen hundreds of people very, very rapidly so we know who needs to be tested and isolated. We have evidence that dogs can detect bacteria and other diseases, so we believe that taking this project forward will make a huge difference in the ability to control COVID-19 spread.
Established in 2008, Medical Detection Dogs has been working on the detection of human diseases to help society. They are now working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University with researchers hoping to ‘revolutionize our response’ to COVID-19.
With a six-week training period to use dogs as a ‘rapid, non-invasive diagnosis’ tool, the researchers have said that there’s a ‘very high chance’ of the project’s success.
If it turns out to be successful, the detection dogs can be deployed at airports as they can also detect subtle changes in skin temperatures thus determining if a person has a fever. With over 2.6 million reported cases worldwide, it is the need of the hour that countries improve their response to the deadly disease.
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