Can specially trained dogs sniff out COVID-19 in humans before symptoms appear? Researchers in the United Kingdom are trying to answer that question.
By harnessing Fido’s incredible sense of smell-a dog has more than 300 million scent receptors in his nose, where humans only have 5 million. A company called Medical Detection Dogs has successfully trained canines to detect the odor of other human diseases, including, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and malaria. The breeds being used for the COVID-19 trial are a mix of Cocker Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers.
Previous work has shown that malaria has a distinctive odor. Dogs have been trained to detect this odor with great accuracy. This combined with the knowledge that respiratory disease can change body odor provides great hope that COVID-19 can be detected.
If this is successful, this could revolutionize how COVID-19 is detected and provide screening of up to 250 people per hour.
Using man’s best friend to detect coronavirus is being studied by researchers all over the globe, including the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine. A preliminary report shows that the odor can be detected in arm pits. Once again, a dog’s nose can be used to save human lives.
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