Can dogs sniff Covid-19? UK Government Supports Trial To Find Out

LONDON: British researchers will test the ability to detect whether people are infected, in an attempt to develop a fast, non-invasive means of detecting the disease.

The British government said on Saturday it had awarded £ 500,000 ($ 606,000) for the investigation, which will be carried out by Tropical Medicine and a British charity, Medical Detection Dogs.

Biodetection dogs already detect specific cancers and we believe this innovation might provide speedy results as part of our wider testing strategy," innovation minister James Bethell said.

Six dogs, Labradors, and Cocker Spaniels will receive samples of the scent from Covid-19 patients in London hospitals, and will be taught to distinguish their scent from that of uninfected people.

Medical Detection Dogs said it had previously trained dogs to detect certain types of cancer, Parkinson's disease and malaria.

If successful, an individual dog can control up to 250 people per hour and be used in public spaces and airports.

Researchers at the United States and France is also trying to train dogs to detect the disease.

A small number of dogs are also known to have contracted Covid-19, most likely from their owners, according to vets in the United States , the Netherlands and Hong Kong.