“It has been announced that the charity will receive government support for their COVID-19 work. Six dogs will soon start their basic training and learn what the virus smells like.”
According to the charity’s website, the clever canines will be trained to detect if someone has COVID-19, which could play a role in preventing further spread of the pandemic.
What’s more, the dogs, who have shown amazing results detecting illnesses such as malaria, will be able to sniff out the virus in those who don’t have any symptoms.
It’s understood the canines, Norman, Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher, will be able to detect subtle changes in the temperature of skin.
CEO and Co-Founder of Medical Detection Dogs Dr Claire Guest stated on the website the revolutionary detection method will be backed up with follow-up testing to identify the virus.
“Our aim is that some of these amazing 6 dogs will be able to passively screen any individual, including those with no symptoms, and tell our dog handlers whether they have detected the virus. This will then need to be confirmed by a medical test,” Dr Guest said.
“We will train them in the same way we train our other Bio Detection Dogs, in our training room, and then transfer them to detecting on individuals in a similar way to our Medical Alert Assistance Dogs.
“The samples that the dogs will be trained on at the centre will be deactivated (dead) virus and therefore of no risk to the dogs or handlers. When sniffing people, the dogs will not need to make contact but will sniff the air around a person. The dogs will therefore not be in direct contact with the people screened to prevent the risk of spreading the virus,” she added.
The clever canine training is a collaboration between the charity Medical Detection Dogs and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University.
On Sunday, the Duchess of Cornwall gave a shout out to the collaborative efforts of those involved, saying how proud she was to be patron of Medical Detection Dogs.
“Having been the proud Patron of Medical Detection Dogs for six years, I have every faith that these brilliant dogs will achieve remarkable results in the fight against COVID-19,” she wrote.