The British Medical Association "Medication Detection Dogs" collaborated with scientists from the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine and the University of Durham in northeast England to see if dogs can help detect new Coronavirus infections through their strong sense of smell.
The study comes after previous research that showed dogs' ability to detect malaria through the sense of smell, and is based on the belief that each disease is characterized by a different aroma.
The organizations indicated that they began preparations to train dogs within six weeks "to help provide a quick diagnosis and without the introduction of medical equipment into the body, in an attempt to end the epidemic."
MedicinalDetection Dogs has previously trained dogs to detect diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and bacterial infections by sniffing samples from patients.
These animals can also detect slight changes in skin temperature, which makes them useful for determining if a person has a fever.
"In principle, we are sure that dogs can detect" Covid 19 "and are now looking at a safe way in which we can pick up the smell of the virus from patients and present it to dogs," said Claire Geist, of the Medical Dietition Dogs Foundation and its chief executive.
"The goal is for dogs to be able to examine people, including those without symptoms, and tell us if they need to undergo the necessary tests," she said. This method will be quick and effective and will contribute to reducing the use of limited NHS testing resources and resorting to them only when there is an actual need for that. ”
Dogs can be deployed to airports at the end of an epidemic to identify the people who carry the virus, which helps prevent the disease from reappearing, according to Steve Lindsay of Durham University.
More than 500,000 new cases of coronavirus were recorded in 182 countries, including 22,920 deaths, according to Agence France-Presse statistics, based on official country data and WHO numbers.