Illustrative image of a dog. - Pixabay / Pexels
The Medical Detection Dogs Association, the London School of Hygiene and and the University of Durham "have started preparations to train dogs intensively so that they are ready in six weeks to provide a quick, non-invasive diagnosis by the end of the epidemic. " They also contacted the government to explain how the man's best friend could be a valuable ally in the fight against the pandemic.
The associative structure, which has already trained canids to detect diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's disease and bacterial infections, explains that the process would be the same to teach dogs to spot Covid-19. It will involve making them sniff samples and teaching them to report when they find it.
Identify infected travelers
Dogs are also able to detect subtle changes in skin temperature, and could potentially indicate if someone has a fever. Once trained, dogs could be used to identify travelers infected with the virus when they arrived in the country or be deployed in other public spaces.
"In principle, we are sure that dogs can detect Covid-19. We are now studying how we can safely capture the smell of the virus from patients and present it to dogs, "said Claire Guest, director and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs. "The goal is for dogs to be able to screen anyone, including those who don't have symptoms and tell us if they need to be tested," she said.
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- United Kingdom