LONDON – Trials are taking place in the UK to see whether specially trained airport sniffer dogs could detect COVID-19 in travelers, even before symptoms appear.
Sniffer dogs are already a common sight in airports -- usually, they're looking out for drugs, weapons or other contraband.
But specially trained dogs have also been trained to detect infections and diseases, including cancer, malaria and Parkinson's disease.
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with charity Medical Detection Dogs and the UK's Durham University, say respiratory diseases change body odor, and they reckon trained dogs will be able to pick up this shift on Covid sufferers.
Dogs that are already used to detect certain cancers and diseases will now be trialled to see if they can detect #coronavirus in humans.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) May 17, 2020
The study set up by @LSHTM and @MedDetectDogs could provide a fast, non-invasive detection method.
The UK government has given the team more than £500,000 (over $600,000) to put towards the research.
This preliminary trial has recruited six dogs, dubbed “The Super Six” -- they’re all either labradors or cocker spaniels.