Trials for specially-trained ‘COVID dogs’ that may be able to detect coronavirus in humans, even before symptoms appear, are set to begin as part of new research. This will establish whether they could be used as a potential new non-invasive, early warning measure to detect coronavirus in the future.
World-leading researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will carry out the first phase of a trial in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, backed by £500,000 of government funding. This aims to determine whether dogs are able to detect coronavirus in humans from odour samples.
The trial brings together leading disease control experts from the universities with Medical Detection Dogs, who have already successfully trained dogs to detect the odour of many different diseases in humans, such as cancer, malaria and Parkinson’s disease.
This new trial will look at whether the dogs, a mixture of labradors and cocker spaniels, can be trained to detect coronavirus in people too, even if they are not showing symptoms.
The dogs will only be deployed if backed by strong scientific evidence and is part of the government’s approach to explore all possible options to tackle coronavirus. (Source: Govt guidelines)