Pennsylvania: As the world is struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic, could these canines be able to detect the Covid-19 outbreak? Yes, experts believe so. Dogs are being trained in the US and UK to sniff out the coronavirus.
As per a report published in Washington Post, eight Labrador retrievers are being trained under the University of Pennsylvania research project to determine whether canines can detect the odor associated with the deadly virus that causes Covid-19. If this so happens then eventually the dogs be used as “canine surveillance corps” and then they can screen in airports, hospitals and businesses.
It will not be surprising if the dogs pass the test of detecting SARS-CoV-2. Besides drugs, explosives and contraband food items, the dogs can sniff out malaria, cancers and even a bacterium ravaging Florida’s citrus groves.
Researchers have also found the viruses have specific odors, said Cynthia M.Otto, director of the Working Dog Center at Penn’s School of Veterinary Medicine.
“ We don’t know that this will be the odor of the virus, per se, or the response to the virus, or a combination,” said Otto, who is leading the project.” But the dogs don’t care what the odor is. What they learn is that there’s something different about this sample than there is about the sample”.
James logan, head of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, called canines a “new diagnostic tool” that could revolutionize our response to Covid-19.
On Tuesday, his research team expects to begin collecting Covid-19 samples ”within a matter of weeks” and working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs to train canines soon after. The initial goal is to deploy six dogs to the airports in the UK, says James Logan.
“Each individual dog can screen up to 250 people per hour,” Logon said in an e-mail. “We are simultaneously working on a model to scale it up so it can be deployed in other countries at ports of entry, including airports”.
Miss M.Poncho and six other chocolates yellow and black labs began the first stage of training-learning to identify an odor for a food reward this month, she said.
Next the dogs will be trained using urine and saliva samples collected from patients who tested positive and negative at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Exactly how Covid-19 detection dogs might be put to use in the United States would depend on demands, Otto said, though no-one’s talking about stationing the dog in every hospital or testing site.
Here you can watch a video how dogs are being trained to sniff out Covid-19:
Video Courtesy: Daily Nation