Employing dogs to sniff out culprits in criminal investigations isn’t a new thing. But did you know that dogs have also been trained to detect diseases in pathological labs? Yes, these animals have been deployed to identify diseases like cancer, low blood pressure, Parkinson’s and more. And now medical practitioners are mulling over bringing them on the front line to detect COVID-19. Read on.
What Is It?
Milton Keynes based charity Medical Detection Dogs has teamed up with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University to work on a project that would train sniffer dogs to detect coronavirus in as early as six weeks for prompt, non-invasive treatment. The World Health Organization has already informed that dogs won’t get infected with the virus. So, we can assume that employing them as a detective tool could provide results in a safer and quicker way.
The doctor dogs will smell out the samples of the people kept in the lab and if they find an infected sample, can indicate the same with a gesture. Having said that, they can also be used in public places to detect visitors who are affected by the virus. They may be deployed at airports so that infected migrants can be detected instantly and send for treatment without delay.
Also, studies have shown that they are the living thermometers and can recognise the slightest changes in body temperatures, identifying whether someone has a fever or not. According to Dr Claire Guest, CEO and co-founder of the charity, these trained dogs will be able to screen even the patients who are asymptomatic or do not show any symptoms. Bringing in dogs to detect the rapidly spreading virus will also reduce the dependency on the existing medical testing sources.
Researchers are expecting that if the project is successful, it will not only end the pandemic at a sooner time but will also prevent its re-emergence in future.