As health officials scramble to get more coronavirus testing kits a new weapon in the fight against this virus has emerged – sniffer dogs.
Already these clever canines can smell malaria, cancer and Parkinson’s but now training has started in the U.K. to ensure they can detect coronavirus.
Non-profit Medical Detection Dogs which train dogs to “find the odor of diseases, such as cancer, in samples such as urine, breath and swabs” plan to start training trials with two U.K. colleges.
The U.K.-based charity, which has a strict no kennel policy for its dogs, is partnering with Durham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to carry out the trials, according to BBC News.
Dr Claire Guest, head of the non-profit, said they had to find out how to “safely catch the odor of the virus from patients.
“In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19,” she said.
The organization said each disease had its own distinct odor and the dogs can also identify changes in skin temperature, so may be able to detect a fever, according to the Independent newspaper.
If this is successful the dogs could even detect the potentially deadly virus in those people with no symptoms.
“This would be fast, effective and non-invasive,” Dr Guest said, adding dogs could be ready in six weeks.
Once the dogs are successfully trained they could be stationed at airports and could help play a “vital role in preventing further spread of the pandemic in future,” the organization said on its Facebook page.
“This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control,” Prof Steve Lindsay, from Durham University’s Department of Biosciences, told BBC News.
Just one more reason why we owe our lives to our four-legged friends. Please share if you think dogs are amazing.