A team of researchers from the


United Kingdom is putting forth an intriguing proposition: What if dogs could help detect Covid-19 Researchers from the U.K. believe that experts could train dogs to ‘sniff out’ Covid-19.
Late last month, a team of researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the registered charity Medical Detection Dogs, and Durham University, all in the U.K., announced an intriguing new initiative.
The team wants to explore the potential of using dogs to detect Covid-19 in people who may have developed the disease.
This idea came from the fact that canines are very adept at picking up on subtle signs of illness thanks to their acute sense of smell.
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In fact, some researchers have even suggested that dogs can detect the presence of lung cancer in clinical samples, and that they may be better at it than doctors’ “most advanced technology.”
Also, the same research team that kickstarted the current initiative has found that dogs are capable of “sniffing out” infectious diseases, specifically malaria.
“Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odors from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy — above the World Health Organization [WHO] standards for a diagnostic,” says Prof. James Logan, head of the Department of Disease Control at LSHTM.
Dogs ‘could revolutionize’ diagnostics
The researchers are currently crowdfunding their initiative to try to train medical detection dogs to screen people for Covid-19.
The scientists acknowledge the fact that it is unclear whether or not Covid-19 is at all detectable in a person’s body odor. However, based on their knowledge of other respiratory conditions, they hypothesize that it is.
“It’s early days for Covid-19 odor detection. 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,” explains Prof. Logan.
“And if it does dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionize our response to Covid-19.”
– Prof. James Logan
The researchers propose that specially trained medical detection dogs could supplement the effort to screen for Covid-19 in the long run.

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