If you’re thinking the Covid-19 danger is behind us, think again. Despite the relaxations in our country, the vaccine for this virus is still being researched for intensely. Besides vaccines, researchers and the authorities are also seeking preventative measures that can be used to detect the virus earlier. For quick detections, the UK government has employed their most valuable and fiercest agents out there.
Yes, trials are currently taking place in the UK to see whether specially trained airport sniffer dogs could detect Covid-19 in travellers before they even exhibit any symptoms. CNN reported that dogs have been used to detect diseases before like cancer, malaria and even Parkinson’s.
According to researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, in collaboration with charity Medical Detection Dogs and the UK’s Durham University, respiratory diseases such as Covid-19 changes body odour thus trained dogs may be able to detect this difference.
“The Super Six” and how they’re trained
UK government has given the research team more than £500,000 (RM2,663,698) and six dogs comprising of either Labradors or Cocker Spaniels have been recruited. Lead researcher, Professor James Logan is confident that based on previous trials, this trial will yield positive results.
“It builds up on years of research that we’ve already done as a team to demonstrate that people who have a malaria infection have a distinctive body odor and we’ve shown that dogs can be trained to detect that with very high accuracy.”
The dogs are trained by making the dogs smell the body odour of two people, one infected with Covid-19 and another healthy person.
The subjects will be asked to wear masks which will be sniffed by the dogs. Not only masks, but the dogs will also smell nylon socks which are told to be an efficient way of collecting body odours.
If these doggos are being used, we hope it’s ethical and there’s no threat to their life whatsoever. Who knows, our furry friends might even be our saviour against this pandemic!
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