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Could Dogs Help Detect COVID-19? {excerpted from the American Kennel Club}

Updated: Nov 23, 2020



Why not? They’re already being used to sniff out other vital information we may be seeking such as explosives, drugs, and most recently diabetes alert and ovarian cancer. Medical detection dogs have been used since 2013 to sniff out diseases and now they’re being trained to detect and discriminate COVID-19. But does the virus have its own odor associated with it that dogs can “scent out” from afar (so that the dogs can keep their safe distance from people being screened for the virus)?


The breed of dog being used at this time is the Labrador retriever for 2 reasons namely because of their innate scent abilities and second because they have a calming effect on people which is desirable when taking these dogs out of the lab and putting in the “operational field” to detect the scent of COVID-19 amongst everyday, regular people.


The goal is for these dogs to streamline regular COVID-19 testing in order to help identify those who should be prioritized for testing. If all goes well the biggest issue will be the great demand. And then there’s the concern that the dogs are performing both accurately and safely. Time will tell if all goes according to plan.



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