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Dogs are now being trained to sniff out people who have the coronavirus even before they show symptoms. Here’s how this could work


dog testing medical covid-19

Researchers in the UK are training dogs to detect the coronavirus in patients, even before they show symptoms.
A team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University are hoping that similar to diseases like cancer and malaria, COVID-19 will also have a detectable smell.
The samples will be taken from healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms. They will need to wear nylon socks and face masks for a few hours to absorb the smell.
Some of the samples will be sent to a dog training center where six specialist dogs — dubbed “The Super Six” — will undergo an intense 8 to 10-week trial.
If successful, the sniffer dogs could screen up to 250 people an hour and play a vital role in detecting the virus in key transportation hubs, including airports and train stations.
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Researchers in the UK are conducting extensive trials to see whether trained sniffer dogs can detect the coronavirus in patients, even before they show any symptoms.

Previously, it’s been found that people with illnesses like malaria, cancer, and Parkinson’s give off a particular odor, which dogs are trained to detect. The research team behind the trial — starting in the next two weeks — is hoping the same will be true with COVID-19.

Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) are collaborating with Durham University and the charity Medical Detection Dogs to carry out the project. The team first announced their trial in late March, and have now received £500,000 ($610,000) worth of funding from the government.

Lord Bethell, the minister for innovation, said the UK government believed the dogs “might provide speedy results as part of our wider testing strategy,” the Guardian reported.

If successful, the sniffer dogs could screen up to 250 people an hour and play a vital role in detecting the virus in key transportation hubs, including airports and train stations.

But what does the training process look like?

Covid-19 patients will be asked to wear sterilized nylon socks to collect odor samples

Professor James Logan, the project’s lead researcher and head of the department of disease control at LSHTM, told Business Insider the initial stage of the trial would be conducted in hospitals across the UK. “We will work with different NHS hospitals in the country to recruit healthcare workers who will then be tested for COVID-19,” Logan said.

Those who test positive will be asked to wear a pair of sterilized nylon socks as well as a face mask for a few hours. The socks are essential in the process because nylon “is a very good matrix to collect odor” and has proven to be an easy and effective way to obtain a person’s scent, explained Logan.

All of the samplings will be supplied by people who are showing no symptoms. “Anybody who has symptoms will not be included in the study and that’s a very important aspect. …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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