There's no denying that Coronavirus has impacted lives in ways we could never have imagined throughout the past year. March 2020 began an adjustment period that the entire world had to acclimate to and fast. But now, over a year later, scientists have called upon an unusual detective for help.
As it turns out, the virus has a very distinct smell. And the four-legged researchers that were called in for the next task are keen on seeking out the scent wherever they can. That's right, dogs are being trained to sniff out Covid-19 in people. And, research suggests they're doing so with about 94% accuracy.
A study was launched in which six dogs tested more than 3,500 odor samples that the public and National Health Services had donated. The findings? The dogs could seek out the positive Covid samples within minutes. Professor James Logan stated, "This includes people who are asymptomatic and...with a low viral load."
Professor Logan, Dean of the Disease Control Department at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), headed the project. Of the progress made, he commented, "What was great was the dogs that have been trained on the original variant transferred to the new variant."
"They could detect the new variant without any additional training. So this gives us real hope and really suggests that dogs are able to detect different variants of Covid," he continued. The six dogs, Marlow, Millie, Tala, Lexie, Kyp, and Asher, will soon enter the next phase of the trial.
This includes detecting the virus on real people in real-world settings such as sports arenas and airports. Dr. Claire Guest, the scientific officer at Medical Detection Dogs, shared, "These fantastic results are further evidence that dogs are one of the most reliable biosensors for detecting the odor of human disease."
"Our robust study shows the huge potential for dogs to help in the fight against Covid-19," Dr. Guest continued. The high degree of accuracy in this study had proved that movement is occurring in the fight against the current global pandemic. And we have adorable dogs to thank for it!