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Positive News. Dogs being trained to find passengers with COVID-19 at UK airports. (Sky News)

(16 Posts)
GagaJo Thu 23-Apr-20 07:49:17

Dogs are being trained to detect coronavirus in passengers arriving at UK airports.

Canines at the Medical Detection Dogs charity have previously been used to find cancer, Parkinson's disease and malaria and will receive similar training in order to help during the pandemic.

The organisation's founder believes the animals could detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic travellers arriving in the UL when lockdown measures are relaxed.

The charity is working in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Durham University.

Six dogs have been earmarked for the training; Norman, Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher.

The charity said their noses may be able to detect coronavirus in as little as six to eight weeks.

Dr Claire Guest, chief executive and co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs, said: "In principle, we're sure that dogs could detect COVID-19. We are now looking into how we can safely catch the odour of the virus from patients and present it to the dogs.

"The aim is that dogs will be able to screen anyone, including those who are asymptomatic and tell us whether they need to be tested. This would be fast, effective and non-invasive and make sure the limited NHS testing resources are only used where they are really needed."

Professor James Logan, Head of Department of Disease Control at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: "Our previous work demonstrated that dogs can detect odours from humans with a malaria infection with extremely high accuracy - above the World Health Organisation standards for a diagnostic.

"We know that other respiratory diseases like COVID-19 change our body odour so there is a very high chance that dogs will be able to detect it. This new diagnostic tool could revolutionise our response to COVID-19 in the short term, but particularly in the months to come, and could be profoundly impactful."

A crowdfunding page has been set up to raise £500,000 to train the dogs.

BlueBelle Thu 23-Apr-20 07:58:35

This would be wonderful if it is true and every town should then have a dog what a great test

BlueBelle Thu 23-Apr-20 07:59:10

Is there a link

Whitewavemark2 Thu 23-Apr-20 08:01:29

Aren’t dogs wonderful? They do so much to assist humans and save our lives.

Bathsheba Thu 23-Apr-20 08:17:49

Well this would be an fantastic resource! I do hope they manage to train the dogs effectively to achieve accurate results.

Aren't dogs wonderful? All the dog haters on here need to read this wink

Iam64 Thu 23-Apr-20 08:24:43

Dogs are indeed wonderful. There are so many stories of them telling their owner about eg. breast cancer, by constantly sniffing or pawing at the tumour. They can be trained to warn their owner of an impending seizure. My dogs are happy to visit our local residential nursing home and be patted or stroked by the residents. They're also regulars at a unit for children with m.h. problems. well, they were pre lock down of course.
We know such a tiny bit about what they're capable of.

GagaJo Thu 23-Apr-20 08:33:53

Hang on BlueBell, I'll see if I still have it. Although that is the whole article.

GagaJo Thu 23-Apr-20 08:34:30

brook2704 Thu 23-Apr-20 08:41:14

What amazing news - such clever dogs and people too who can train them to do this !

BlueSky Thu 23-Apr-20 08:42:04

Anything else dogs can be trained to do? They sure earn their keep! Amazing creatures and this from a cat person!

Oopsadaisy3 Thu 23-Apr-20 10:25:43

Brilliant, they should set up a funding page, as another poster has said every town should one.
Dogs certainly are a blessing in so many ways.

Gran52 Fri 24-Apr-20 17:29:12

Really. Would it not be a better idea to shut down the airports altogether for the moment? Unless of course the airports are going to open to enable us to go on the well earned holidays we have paid for.

Xrgran Fri 24-Apr-20 17:31:39

I mentioned this to my partner a month ago and he thought it was ridiculous! A dog will smell any ‘different’ smells very easily and with training it makes complete sense to let them do this work.

sodapop Fri 24-Apr-20 19:33:53

I think its great too, dogs do such a good job in all other service areas drugs, money, missing persons. This will just be another string to their bow as it were. We need all the help we can get.

Bossyrossy Fri 24-Apr-20 19:49:10

I’ve always thought that it would be a good idea to have a line of dogs at the airport, each one trained to sniff out a different thing such as drugs, explosives, contraband etc, and everyone has to walk past them with their luggage. Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, the exception being my dog who just smells.

sodapop Fri 24-Apr-20 21:26:30

grin Bossyrossy