May 27, 2020
Is there anything a dog can’t do?
Emotional support animals, medical support animals, drug sniffing dogs, bed bug sniffing dogs…and soon Coronavirus sniffing dogs!
A new program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine (Penn Vet) has scientests and researchers working with dogs to see if their noses can help with early detection of COVID-19 in humans.
In this program happening right now, 8 dogs are being trained in a laboratory setting. Over three weeks, they will first learn to recognize the smell of COVID-19 in saliva and urine samples from infected patients (through an imprinting technique) and will then be tested to see if they can detect the infected samples from the non-infected samples.
Cynthia Otto, a Vet and director of Penn Vet’s Working Dog Center says:
“The potential impact of these dogs and their capacity to detect COVID-19 could be substantial. This study will harness the dog’s extraordinary ability to support the nation’s COVID-19 surveillance systems, with the goal of reducing community spread.”
So when could we start seeing COVID-19 sniffing dogs? These trained dogs could be ready to start sniffing humans by July.