Scientists try to train dogs to detect coronavirus

Dogs have already been trained to sniff out people suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's, malaria, and cancer.

News 12 Staff

May 19, 2020, 3:35 PM

Updated 1,515 days ago

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The future in the fight against COVID-19 might look a bit furry as a trial is underway to see if six specially trained dogs can sniff out the virus early before symptoms appear.
Dogs have already been trained to sniff out people suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's, malaria, and cancer.
Scientists say the dogs can detect odors that humans cannot. For example, a dog can smell a urine sample and identify someone who has prostate cancer.
With COVID-19, scientists hope they can train the dogs to sniff a person’s clothing.  "The way we are going to do that is by collecting used face masks…and the other thing we are going to do is get people to wear nylon socks. That sounds a bit strange, but we know from our previous experience that this is a really good way of collecting odors from people, and it's such an easy way to do it," says Dr. Steve Lindsay, Professor of Biological & Biomedical Sciences at Durham University.
If the training is successful, one of their first deployments is likely to be airports where dogs are already used to sniff out drugs and other contraband.
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