The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, LSHTM, Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University have have initiated as process that will enable dogs detect COVID-19 in human beings.
The team is said to have initiated a six-weeks intensive training for dogs which will enable them provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis towards the tail end of the epidemic.
The researchers are hoping that the dogs could supplement ongoing testing by screening for the virus accurately and rapidly, potentially testing up to 250 people per hour.
Head of Department of Disease Control at LSHTM and director of ARCTEC Professor James Logan says:
“Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odours from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy – above the World Health Organization standards for a diagnostic.”
“It’s early days for COVID-19 odour detection. We do not know if COVID-19 has a specific odour yet, but we know that other respiratory diseases change our body odour so there is a chance that it does. And if it does dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionise our response to COVID-19.”