Dogs Being Trained to Detect COVID-19
As if you needed any further proof that dogs are the greatest gift humanity ever received, the latest good boy news is that they're being trained to detect COVID-19.
CTV journalists Sandie Rinaldo and Melissa Lopez-Martinez report that British charity Medical Detection Dogs and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine are teaming up to initiate trials for dogs who'll be taught to detect if a person is infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.
Dogs in a similar program have been able to detect certain illnesses with 80% accuracy, CTV reports.
Medical Detection Dogs' website explains how the process works.
In cases of malaria, for example, a person infected with Plasmodium parasites emits a smell that is attractive to malaria mosquitoes. Dogs can detect that smell and assist with screening travelers at ports, or aid in efforts to eliminate or significantly reduce infections in communities.
Dogs could also detect unique odors emitted by certain types of bacteria, helping medical professionals detect them in patients, clinics, and wards.
Research indicates that dogs in the program can also sniff out volatile organic compounds associated with cancer, specifically prostate cancer.
There's even hope that dogs can detect Parkinson's disease years before symptoms manifest, meaning patients could seek treatment early and save nerve cells in the brain often lost by the time symptoms emerge.
While the jury is still out on the science, trainers at Medical Detection Dogs believe COVID-19's affect on the human immune system will produce a unique odor that their dogs will be able to sense. The animals might also be able to detect individuals with raised temperatures as a result of the disease.
The research is still in its earliest phase, but if dogs are successfully trained to detect COVID-19 infection in individuals, they could be placed at ports of entry to screen travelers and help slow the spread of the virus.