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Nurses in study to find out if sniffer dogs can detect coronavirus

NHS staff at 11 hospitals support effort to train dogs to detect COVID-19
Picture shows a Medical Detection Dog during training, though in this picture the dog is not smelling a COVID-19 sample

NHS staff at 11 hospitals support effort to train dogs to detect COVID-19

NHS staff are taking part in a trial to see if dogs can sniff out coronavirus.

Testing to see if dogs can be trained to detect the disease has begun with help from staff at 11 hospitals.

These include Kettering General Hospital, where 92 staff have signed up to support the study. The hospitals lead nurse for research Joanne Walsh said: Our contribution involves recruiting staff volunteers from colleagues who are about to have a COVID-19 swab test.

After their swab test, we ask them to wear special nylon socks for 12 hours and a mask for three hours and then to bag them up and return them to us.

Dogs could screen up to 250 people an hour, researchers say

We then

NHS staff at 11 hospitals support effort to train dogs to detect COVID-19

Picture shows a Medical Detection Dog during training, though in this picture the dog is not smelling a COVID-19 sample
Picture: PA Wire

NHS staff are taking part in a trial to see if dogs can sniff out coronavirus.

Testing to see if dogs can be trained to detect the disease has begun with help from staff at 11 hospitals.

These include Kettering General Hospital, where 92 staff have signed up to support the study. The hospital’s lead nurse for research Joanne Walsh said: ‘Our contribution involves recruiting staff volunteers from colleagues who are about to have a COVID-19 swab test.

‘After their swab test, we ask them to wear special nylon socks for 12 hours and a mask for three hours and then to bag them up and return them to us.

Dogs could screen up to 250 people an hour, researchers say

‘We then send the samples, along with COVID-19 test result, to the team doing the research with the dogs in Milton Keynes.’

The dogs are trained to sniff the samples and indicate if they are positive or negative, with a check against the actual test results to see if the dog is right.

There could be huge implications if dogs can smell coronavirus, with researchers estimating the animals could potentially screen up to 250 people an hour.

The trial is being run by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in collaboration with Durham University and the charity Medical Detection Dogs.

If it is successful, dogs could be used at UK airports to screen people arriving from overseas.

‘A dog’s nose could make a tangible difference to future pandemics’

Medical Detection Dogs chief executive Claire Guest said: ‘Our dogs have already detected different types of cancer, Parkinson’s and malaria among other diseases that affect millions of people around the world.

‘We are very proud that a dog’s nose could be part of a solution to find a fast, non-invasive way of diagnosing COVID-19 and make a tangible difference to any future pandemics.’

For more information call 0207 927 2777 or email coviddogs@lshtm.ac.uk


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Using dogs to detect COVID-19

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