UK Charity To Train Canines For Sniffing COVID-19

London: When researchers across the globe are doing everything in their power to develop a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, a UK charity firm Medical Detection Dogs (MDD) is planning to train canines for detecting the virus in humans by sniffing.

MDD is in talks with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University for training the canines.

According to reports, the dogs will be trained to sniff the odour and detect a virus infected person. They will also be trained to detect changes in body temperature and indicate when someone runs a fever.

Head of Department of Disease Control at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Director of ARCTEC, Professor James Logan said, “We know that respiratory diseases like COVID-19 change our body odour, so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it.”

“We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs,” said Dr Claire Guest, CEO and Co-Founder of MDD.

These trained canines can also be deployed at various public places to detect virus carriers in a crowd.

Professor Steve Lindsay at Durham University said, “If the research is successful, we could use COVID-19 detection dogs at airports at the end of the epidemic to rapidly identify people carrying the virus. This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control.”

Earlier, the charity had trained dogs to detect diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections by sniffing samples in the charity’s training room.


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