The Medical Detection Dogs is a British charity set up in 2008 to use dogs' sharp sense of smell to detect human diseases like cancers, Parkinson's disease, and other bacterial infections using samples taken from patients.
Last month, they started working on a new project in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University in northeast England - training dogs to sniff out samples of the virus, and indicate when they have found it to receive a treat. The approach is based on a belief that each disease triggers a distinct odor, which canines are uniquely well-placed to smell.
Story via: Sky News
An important "non-invasive diagnosis" tool
The team is aiming to train the dogs over a six-week period to help provide the "rapid, non-invasive diagnosis" tool.
If successful, the four-legged detection devices could be deployed at airports to identify people carrying the virus.
"The project will make a huge difference in the ability to control Covid-19 spread."
In an interview to AFP, Claire Guest, the founder and chief executive of Medical Detection Dogs, explained more about the project:
"We believe dogs can detect Covid-19 and will be able to screen hundreds of people very, very rapidly so we know who needs to be tested and isolated. We have evidence that dogs can detect bacterias and other diseases, so we believe that taking this project forward will make a huge difference in the ability to control Covid-19 spread."
"Revolutionizing our response to the disease"
James Logan, head of the LSHTM's disease control department, said that "The project demonstrated dogs can smell odours from humans with "extremely high accuracy".
He added there was "a very high chance" that they would be able to detect Covid-19 in a similar way and potentially "revolutionize our response" to the disease.