The biggest concern about the Coronavirus pandemic is how quickly it spends without detection. So what if – dogs could help us out with that? Shocking, we thought so too!
Scientists say that dogs can sniff out subtle odors produced by the virus when within the human body. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is crowdfunding a project to train canines to detect healthy-seeming people who haven’t necessarily realized yet they are carriers. If the project is successful, these animals could become the greatest detectives we can use against the virus.
“It’s very early stages,” says James Logan, head of LSHTM’s Department of Disease Control. “We know diseases have odors — including respiratory diseases such as influenza — and that those odors are in fact quite distinct. There is a very, very good chance that Covid-19 has a specific odor, and if it does I am really confident that the dogs would be able to learn that smell and detect it.”
Have Dogs Been Used to Detect Other Diseases?
Shockingly enough, yes! Dogs with a highly developed sense of smell are already used to diagnose many medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease and several types of cancer. The LSHTM itself has already trained up animals—labradors and cocker spaniels tend to be especially suited—to detect malaria. Their success rate far exceeds required WHO standards, the center says.
While the world is facing an extreme shortage of testing kits, IF these dogs can be used to sniff out the virus carriers – they will be able to screen thousands of people per day. Here’s hoping a man’s best friend can really come through in these tough times.