If there was ever a time to experiment and think out of the box, to find ingenious solutions to a crisis, it is now. Researchers across the world are working on finding ways to train sniffer dogs to detect Coronavirus positive travellers at airports. By Manya Saini

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has created new challenges that the world is looking to overcome with the help of research, technology, and ingenuity. As per reports, researchers in different parts of the world are training medical detection dogs to screen passengers who are COVID-19 positive at airports.


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Experts at Medical Detection Dogs, a not-for-profit organisation, which has pioneered training research in detecting medical illnesses like cancer, malaria, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease in patients, has started working on training the dogs to identify the smell of coronavirus.

The work is being carried out in collaboration with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University. The goal of the research is to deploy these trained dogs at airports and other public spaces for a screening mechanism that is operational even for asymptomatic but still contagious patients.

Another such training programme is underway in Iran, in collaboration with the nation’s military. However, the researchers are unsure of which dog breed will be able to successfully detect the virus, because of which they are experimenting with multiple breeds to find the one best-suited for the job.


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The experiments are being conducted on dogs already trained as sniffers in the medical field. According to reports, the team at Medical Detection Dogs has expressed its belief that it can train dogs within six weeks. It is been estimated that deploying dogs could overcome logistical challenges of testing and ramping up the frequency to up to 250 people an hour.

If the research is successful, it could be a potentially life-saving development that will help curb the spread significantly. It will also improve the safety and security of travellers.

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