Dogs might soon be used to sniff out COVID-19 carriers at airports. As on so many occasions in the past, our canine companions are out to rescue us again.
Special team of researchers to conduct the trial
In the United Kingdom (UK) research and experiments are going on to check whether specially trained airport sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19 patients among travelers even before they display symptoms.
The UK government has provided £500,000 (over $600,000) to help this ongoing research which is being conducted by the researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Durham University and charity organization, Medical Detection Dogs.
The collective team reported to CNN that when any human body has respiratory disease changes occur in their body odor that trained dogs can detect. As it is common for sniffer dogs to detect certain diseases, acquired or infectious, like malaria, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. At airports, generally highly trained dogs are used to detect hidden drugs or firearms in baggage or in passengers. Initially, researchers selected six dogs for this purpose, nicknamed “The Super Six”. All of them either Labrador retrievers or cocker spaniels.
Professor James Logan, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s department of disease control and lead researcher on the study, expressed his confidence in the project’s potential: “It builds upon years of research that we’ve already done as a team to demonstrate that people who have a malaria infection have a distinctive body odor and we’ve shown that dogs can be trained to detect that with very high accuracy.”