Labradors and spaniels in the U.K. are being trained to detect the odor of COVID-19 in humans to help stem the spread of the disease.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is crowdfunding a project to train canines to detect healthy-seeming people who haven’t necessarily realized yet they are carriers.
Dr. Claire Guest, CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Detection Dogs, who is working in partnership with LSHTM, says just as dogs can detect diseases like cancer, malaria, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections – they're being trained for COVID-19.
“The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic and tell us whether they need to be tested. This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.”
If the project is successful, the animal detectives could be working across Britain by the summer.
A 2016 study published by the National Institutes of Health said: "Dogs can detect and discriminate virus-infected cell cultures. Apparently, unique odors associated with viral infections allow the dogs to obtain high rates of sensitivity and specificity."