Dogs Might Be The Solution To COVID-19 Testing
Christopher Kjolseth - April 17th 2020
It’s no secret that dogs have an incredible sense of smell; they have helped us quickly and accurately diagnose infectious diseases like malaria in the past.
Efficient testing is essential to control the spread of the coronavirus, and trained dogs may just be the best solution yet.
How can dogs help
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Durham University, and Medical Detection Dogs are attempting to train dogs to screen people for COVID-19.
If they are successful, each dog would have the ability to test up to 250 people an hour and could be stationed in places like airports and bus stations around the world to test lots of people quickly.
This high-efficiency testing may help us avoid a second outbreak of coronavirus once business and travel have returned to normal.
How to train dogs to detect coronavirus
Researchers are attempting to identify if there is a change in body odor caused by COVID-19, as there is with many other respiratory diseases.
If they identify an odor, the challenge is to isolate it so that dogs can be trained safely with samples.
Dogs can sense even small changes in the temperature of the skin, helping them identify even a mild fever.
They could have the ability to detect the coronavirus in people showing no symptoms, which would significantly improve our ability to stop the spread of this virus.
How long will training take
The current training process for medical detection dogs takes around six weeks, and this would more than likely be the case with COVID-19 detection training.
As research is still in the early stages, it’s not likely that this solution will be available until the later stages of the epidemic.
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