LONDON, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Sniffer dogs are to be trained in Britain to detect COVID-19 even before symptoms appear in humans, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The dogs, who can successfully detect certain cancers, will undergo intensive training to see if they can spot the disease before symptoms appear, backed by 500,000 pounds (605,185 U.S. dollars) of government funding.
Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) will carry out the first phase of the trial in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University.
The trial will see National Health Service (NHS) staff in London hospitals collect odour samples from people who are infected with novel coronavirus and those who are uninfected. Six bio-detection dogs will then undergo thorough training to identify the virus from the samples.
"Our previous work has shown that malaria has a distinctive odour, and with Medical Detection Dogs, we successfully trained dogs to accurately detect malaria. This, combined with the knowledge that respiratory disease can change body odour, makes us hopeful that the dogs can also detect COVID-19," said lead researcher James Logan from the LSHTM. Enditem