Remember those dogs we hear about not too long ago that were being trained to sniff out people who had been infected with COVID-19? Well, apparently they’re pretty close to being ready.
For those who do not know, in recent times researchers have been working with special dogs to try to train them to be able to ‘sniff’ out the coronavirus in humans. This making it easier to spot those who are asymptomatic and essentially thought to be a possible tool that could be used at airports and other places of the sort.
This makes a lot of sense as dogs are known for being able to tell when someone has cancer or some other kind of underlying issue in many cases. According to Penn Vet canine-involved screenings could begin as soon as July depending on how the next few weeks play out. While it might sound a bit out there, this concept could work.
Penn Today wrote as follows on the topic:
With up to 300 million smell receptors—compared to six million in humans—dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection. This pioneering study—that will explore the sensitivity and specificity of scent—sets the stage for dogs to be a force multiplier in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging. Preliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs could begin as early as July.
Penn Vet will initially begin the study with eight dogs to perform this precise detection work. Over the course of three weeks through a process called odor imprinting, the dogs will be exposed to COVID-19 positive saliva and urine samples in a laboratory setting. Once the dogs learn the odor, the investigators will document that the dogs can discriminate between COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative samples in a laboratory setting, establishing the platform for testing to determine if the dogs can identify COVID-19 infected people. The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center will be lending their expertise during the study as well.
There are several different organizations working on exactly this (all in their own ways) so it seems quite likely to play out properly. Perhaps in the future working dogs will be much more present than you might feel they are today. While it might not sound like a long time from now, July is still a bit far off.
Do you think these dogs will end up capable of detecting those with COVID-19? I for one think they just might. Our canine friends never cease to amaze.