The process for being tested for COVID-19 is not something most of us want to sign up for. The test can determine if you currently have the infection and it’s easily accessible at several assessment centers. The problem being it is a fairly invasive procedure which requires a swab up your nostrils.
The only other way to be tested is through bloodwork, but even this type of test can’t necessarily tell you if you currently have the infection. It’s geared to tell you about a previous infection. The medical field is aware of how unpleasant it is to have a Q-tip inserted up the nasal passages and have it feel like it is going through to your brain. They have been trying to find another way of testing, one that is less invasive.
RESEARCH IN THE UK:
As it turns out, there may be an alternative in the making. Researchers in the UK have been training dogs to detect COVID-19, working off of their sense of smell. James Logan, head of the Department of Disease Control at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told CBS News Kids: “When you have a disease, your body odor changes and dogs are an excellent example of being able to detect smells and also learn those smells.”
Working with Cocker Spaniels and Labradors for eight to ten weeks, these dogs will be able to identify the infection in people just by walking past them. If the virus is detected, the dog would stop and look at the person they believe is infected. Researchers hope to use the dogs in public places such as airports, train stations and stadiums. Dogs are a good choice because of their immunity to contract COVID-19.
RESEARCH IN GERMANY:
Dogs in Germany are also being trained to sniff out the coronavirus. A study conducted by the University Veterinary Medicine Hannover found dogs from the armed forces and trained them for just five days. They discovered they were able to identify the virus with a 94% success rate. The dogs sniffed the saliva of more than 1,000 people, healthy and infected. Professor Maren Von Kockritz-Blickwede said:” We think this works because metabolic processes in the body of a diseased patient is completely changed. We think that the dogs are able to detect a specific smell of the metabolic changes that occur in those patients.”
A dog’s nose is about 1,000 times more sensitive than a human’s nose. Their sense of smell far surpasses human beings. Dogs have already been trained to detect human diseases such as malaria, prostate cancer, diabetes and parkinson’s disease. It just makes sense that dogs could detect COVID-19.
RESEARCH IN THE US:
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine are also looking into the possibilities of training dogs to sniff out COVID-19. Hopefully, in the near future, we will have dogs in the United States trained to detect the virus.
Until our four legged friends are fully trained, I guess we’ll have to settle for the Q-tip swab but hopefully, dogs will change the future of COVID-19 testing.