While dog owners around the world have abandoned their friends as rumors suggested that dogs can contract the COVID-19 virus, a British charity has stated that dogs can actually help to detect the virus. The world is in desperate need of solutions to slow down the spread of the virus or stop it altogether. Plenty of suggestions are cropping up and the latest one is this.
While this initially seemed ridiculous and hard to believe, the charity, based in Milton Keynes, Central England has begun training dogs to smell out potential carriers of the virus. Within a six-week rigorous training session, they believe that the dogs will be ready to help with the screening process in public places like airports.
Dogs might help us with their sense of smell to detect Covid-19 positive people.
Medical Detection Dogs was started in 2008 with the aim of training dogs to detect diseases among humans. Dogs have proven valuable for their remarkable sense of smell in several fields and a lesser known one is that of sniffing diseases. This exercise is based on the fact that each disease causes a specific odor and this can help dogs to sniff out the victims.
Previously, the charity had used this method to sniff out Parkinson’s disease, cancers and certain bacterial infections. Recently, they had completed a project by training dogs to detect malaria.
Claire Guest, the founder of the charity and its Chief Executive feels that based on the evidence that dogs can detect diseases like malaria, they can be trained to detect the COVID-19 virus as well which will greatly benefit in identifying carriers.
The dogs are being trained using samples from the patients and made to alert the trainer once they detect it. After each successful detection, they are given a treat, following the positive reinforcement model to encourage them to sniff out the virus.
If this project is a success, then it will play a crucial role in detecting patients. Let’s hope it works!