Coronavirus crisis: UK researchers training dogs to sniff out COVID-19 virus in humans

Sunday, April 19, 2020

LONDON -- Canines have been used for decades to sniff out drugs, bombs, corpses and even cancer.

Now, a team of British researches are hoping dogs' keen sense of smell can help detect COVID-19, CNN reports.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is working with specially trained dogs to develop a new kind of coronavirus test, one that doesn't require a swab, but just a sniff.

The organization recently discovered canines can detect Malaria infections in humans and they are investigating whether the same is true for COVID-19.

The training began in March and researchers are eyeing six weeks as enough to determine if the dogs are up to snuff.

If the tests go well, these "super sniffers" could be deployed to screen up to 250 people per hour for the virus.

According to researchers, the dog tests won't replace traditional coronavirus testing but will be used as a supplement since COVID-19 tests are in short supply and results can take hours, if not days to come back.

Researchers said the dogs could be used at airports and other public areas in the future to help prevent another outbreak once the current pandemic declines.