by Chris Ciaccia: After a British charity said it would partner with scientists to see if dogs are able to sniff out coronavirus patients…
the CEO of the charity believes the dogs could sniff out as many as 750 people per hour, significantly aiding in the testing capabilities throughout the world.
Speaking with British tabloid The Daily Mirror, Dr. Claire Guest, CEO and co-founder British charity Medical Detection Dogs, said there is no reason to believe the dogs can’t detect COVID-19, given their ability to detect other diseases.
“There have already been so many fantastic achievements in the dogs’ work to detect human disease, and I believe they can be trained to sniff out COVID-19,” Guest told the news outlet.
“When resources and testing kits are low, hundreds of people can’t be tested in one go,” Guest added. “But the dogs can screen up to 750 people really quickly. By identifying those who need to be tested and self-isolate, they can stop the spread.”
In March, Medical Detection Dogs said it would partner with Durham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on a medical trial to see if the crafty canines are able to sniff out people who have COVID-19.
Fox News has reached out to Medical Detection Dogs with a request for comment.
The initial trial, which will include six dogs, according to the Mirror, involves the dogs sniffing coronavirus patients’ face masks to determine if the virus has a specific smell.
Dogs are already able to sniff out other diseases, such as cancer, Parkinson’s or other bacterial infections, as each disease has its own smell, the charity added. The dogs are able to “detect subtle changes” in skin temperature, so it’s possible they could tell whether someone has a fever.
“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,” Guest said in March. “This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed.”
Upon sniffing out the potential COVID-19 patients, the potential carriers would then be confirmed by an actual test to determine if they are indeed affected.
“We know that other respiratory diseases like COVID-19 change our body odor so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it,” Professor James Logan, head of Department of Disease Control at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and director of ARCTEC, said in March. “Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odors from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy – above the World Health Organization standards for a diagnostic.”
The dog trials could be done in as few as six weeks, the BBC reports, assuming positive results. If that happens, rapid deployment could occur, said Durham University professor Steve Lindsay.
“If the research is successful, we could use COVID-19 detection dogs at airports at the end of the epidemic to rapidly identify people carrying the virus,” Lindsay explained. “This would help prevent the re-emergence of the disease after we have brought the present epidemic under control.”
There are a number of tests used to detect COVID-19 that have been approved recently. Last month, the U.S. FDA approved one from Abbott Laboratories that can detect positive results in as few as five minutes and negative results in as few as 13 minutes.
As of Monday morning, more than 2.41 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed worldwide, including more than 759,000 of which are in the U.S., the most impacted country on the planet.