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Can Dogs Smell Covid-19?

In the U.K., researchers believe they can train dogs to sniff out the distinctive odor of coronavirus, potentially assisting in mass infection screening efforts.
This very good boy is being trained to detect the odor associated with infection, an approach researchers believe can be used to screen Covid-19.
This very good boy is being trained to detect the odor associated with infection, an approach researchers believe can be used to screen Covid-19.London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine/Medical Detection Dogs

Researchers in the U.K. are working on an unusual weapon in the fight against Covid-19: dogs. Scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LHTSM) believe that they can train dogs with a particularly keen sense of smell to diagnose people with the illness, even if they are displaying no symptoms. The project, which is currently undergoing crowdfunding, hopes to train and deploy dogs as screeners for people with Covid-19 in as little as two months. First, however, the team have to verify one key point: that the idea actually works.

There’s a good chance that it will. Dogs are already widely used to detect the presence of cancers, bacterial superbugs and neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s. Working with the charity Medical Detection Dogs, the LSHTM has previously carried out a successful training program that demonstrated dogs could detect malaria, creating a test that exceeded required World Health Organization standards.