(The Gist of Science Reporter) Doctor Dogs to Detect Coronavirus

(The Gist of Science Reporter) Doctor Dogs to Detect Coronavirus


Doctor Dogs to Detect Coronavirus

  • The to 300 million olfactory receptors in the noses, against about only 6 million in man. It can smell something dog’s sense of smell is legendary. It possesses up buried from 40 feet away and detect odours of a concentration of parts per billion. Now, its service has been called upon for the detection of COVID 19 too. The utilisation of dog’s highly sensitive sniffing power in detecting diseases began with different types of cancer in 2006, when a team of researchers of the Pine Street Foundation, Marine Country of California led by Micheal Mc Culloch found that the animal could identify breast and lung cancer with 99% accuracy. In 2015, a team of Italian researchers announced that they had trained two German shepherds to detect a chemical linked to prostate cancer in urine. Besides various types of cancer, dogs have shown the ability of detecting diseases like malaria, urinary tract infections, hypoglycemia (low sugar), Parkinson’s disease and others. In fact, they have even been branded as Medical Detection Dogs or “Doctor Dogs”.
  • On 16 May 2020, the UK government announced a 5,00,000 pound funding to start trials with specially trained “Covid Dogs” that may be able to detect the coronavirus in humans from the odour samples before the symptoms appear. It can serve as a potential new non-invasive early warning measure.
  • The researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have begun to carry out the first phase of the trial in collaboration with the Charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University. Experts from these institutions already have previous experience in training dogs to detect odours of some diseases in humans. Initially, the National Health Service in London hospitals has been engaged to collect samples from the people who are infected by the coronavirus. Six bio-detection dogs, a mixture of Labradors and Cocker spaniels, have been selected to undergo thorough training to identify the virus. Earlier research with Medical Detection Dogs has shown that the dogs that can screen up to 250 people per hour can be trained to detect the odour of a disease of the equivalent dilution of “One teaspoon sugar in two Olympic sized swimming pools of water”.
  • According to Professor James Logan, the lead researcher of the work and the Head of the Department of Disease Control at the LSHT, their previous work has shown that malaria has a distinct odour and it has become possible to accurately detect it with Medical Detection Dogs. He is hopeful that the same success can be repeated in the case of coronavirus.



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Courtesy: Science Reporter