The charity Medical Detection Dogs believes that dogs could detect Coronavirus by scentwork from previous research that each disease has a unique odour. It’s recently been discovered that dogs can detect malaria.
Intensive training could prepare dogs within 6 weeks to diagnose the virus non invasively, in a similar way to dogs they train to detect cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections. As well as scent, dogs are also able to detect changes in skin temperature, and could potentially indicate if someone has a fever.
Once trained, these dogs could be posted in airports to identify infected travellers crossing borders, or in other public spaces.
CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Detection Dogs Dr Guest 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.”
The dogs could help effectively prevent the resurgence of the virus by finding those who have it (including asymptomatic carriers).