Dogs being trained to sniff out coronavirus in a bid to fight COVID-19

Man's best friend to the rescue

Sniffer dogs are going to be enlisted in the fight against COVID-19, according to a charity.

Dogs are already used to fight crime, however Medical Detection Dogs uses them to assist in cancer research and diabetes detection as well.

They now feel sure the dogs could also help to sniff out coronavirus.

Read more: Coronavirus: Britain turns blue for NHS in fight against COVID-19

Dogs already help solve crime (Credit:

Helping with the fight

The charity is working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and also Durham University to see how their canines could be deployed.

It is based outside Milton Keynes – and their team believes a diagnosis could be made as quickly as six weeks.

This would consequently provide a rapid, non-invasive diagnosis and therefore assist in gathering vital data about the virus.

Read more: First UK doctor dies from COVID-19

In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19.

How could dogs help the COVID-19 battle?

Dr Claire Guest, CEO and co-founder of the charity, said: “In principle, we’re sure that dogs could detect COVID-19.

“We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs.

“The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic, and tell us whether they need to be tested.

“This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.”

Professor James Logan, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also agreed.

He added: “We know that other respiratory diseases like COVID-19, change our body odour so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it.”

In addition, Professor Steve Lindsay said that COVID-19 detection dogs could be used at airports.

Most flights are currently suspended due to coronavirus. But the dogs would be put in place at the end of the epidemic to identify anyone carrying the virus.

“This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control,” he said.

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