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Dogs being Trained To Sniff Out COVID-19 Coronavirus

Rajat Taheem

May 02, 2020

Can Dogs Be Trained To Sniff Out COVID-19 Coronavirus? If yes then this would could potentially end the lockdown around the world related to coronavirus pandemic. They can be part of “canine surveillance” team that would sniff off covid-19 symptoms & could be far better to detect asymptomatic cases in public places like malls or cinemas or even airports.

With each body claiming that Coronavirus Pandemic is far from over & it might take around 12 to 24 months to bring back the life to normalcy provided the effective vaccine is available within 6 months. Asymptomatic carriers are the most challenging cases as they can spread the virus without even knowing it or getting detected. China has observed re-occurrence of this virus in the cured patients & we still dont know if this is 100% curable.

Considering the above facts, University of Pennsylvania research project formed a team of eight Labrador retrievers — and their powerful noses. If successful, they might eventually be used in a sort of “canine surveillance” team, the university said – offering a noninvasive, four-legged method to screen people in airports, businesses or hospitals.

The current challenge around the world is the number of tests performed to detect Covid-19. There is a huge shortage of testing / kits. This not only modifies the number but also projects a wrong picture and can be dangerous for any country or its economic condition.

A dog’s sense of smell is up to 10,000 times more sensitive compared to a human. It would not be surprising if the dogs could detect SARS-CoV-2. In addition to drugs, explosives and food items, dogs are able to sniff out malaria, cancers and even a bacterias. And research has found that viruses have specific odors, said Cynthia M. Otto, director of the Working Dog Center at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The attempt is to figure out if Coronavirus has specific odor.

“We do not know if COVID-19 has a specific odor yet, but we know that other respiratory diseases change our body odor so there is a chance that it does,” Professor James Logan, who is leading the study, said in a statement. “And if it does, dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionize our response to COVID-19.”

The training can take months, but researchers hope to have the scent detection dogs ready within few months. As of now dogs are given face masks of infected people to find differences against food reward. Next, the dogs will be trained using urine and saliva samples collected from patients who tested positive and negative.

One Dog can sniff off around 750 people an hour - This is far more than the any testing capability available around the globe for Covid-19 Coronavirus.

Lets hope that nature can help us figure out ways to overcome this epidemic.

Love you dogs for all your help & support.

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