With their sense of smell and intuition, dogs are expected to be used to identify infected people.
Experts on infectious diseases all believe that preventing future outbreaks of Covid-19 will require bulk testing and identification of asymptomatic carriers.
Dogs, with their very sensitive sense of smell, can be a great help in the future.
Labrador dogs are the subject of a research project at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to determine if they can detect the smell associated with the Covid-19 virus. If successful, they can be used as a means to identify infected people, according to the team.
Not surprisingly, dogs are considered to detect people infected with SARS-CoV-2. In addition to drugs, explosives and smuggled food, dogs can sniff malaria, cancer and even a bacterium that devastates Florida citrus forests. In 2015, a study on dog sniffing ability was published in the National Institutes of Health portal (NIH).
“We don’t know why dogs sniff: it could be a virus smell, or a reaction to a virus, or a combination of both. But dogs don’t care what smell. They are only taught to point out. “The difference between the two models,” said Cynthia M. Otto, director of the center of the dog at the veterinary school.
“The potential of dogs will be enormous. This research will focus on the excellent ability of dogs to assist the country in killing Covid-19, with the ultimate goal of reducing community infection. “, added Otto.
A similar study is being conducted at the London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, where researchers have previously demonstrated that dogs can identify malaria infections in humans. James Logan, the head of the school’s disease control department, called dogs a “new diagnostic tool” that could revolutionize our response to Covid-19.
Logan’s team began collecting Covid-19 prototypes for training, with the goal of equipping six dogs to identify illnesses at UK airports.
“Each dog can screen up to 250 people per hour,” Mr Logan told the Washington Post.
Dogs have up to 300 million odor receptors, compared to only 6 million humans. Trained dogs are able to identify volatile organic compounds in low concentrations, associated with diseases including ovarian cancer, bacterial infections and nasal tumors. These compounds are found in human blood, saliva, urine or breath.