Canines have trained to sniff out drugs and track down explosive materials to help law enforcement agencies doing the work. But researchers are now training and preparing dogs to assist them with finding people positive with COVID-19.
The study is a cooperation between Maui based non-profit organization Assistance Dogs of Hawaii and Queen’s Medical Health Center. They are important for a larger report and study with Medical Detection Dogs UK, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Maureen Maurer, the organization’s executive director, said that four canines are partaking in the study. These dogs will be trained and prepared through positive reinforcement. The said non-profit organization has partaken in past studies where canines have been trained and prepared to detect a particular bacteria.
Maurer said that dogs receive treats whenever they find the target scent and they make it truly certain and enjoyable for canines. And they simply love observing them to do what they were born to do, to utilize their nose to look for a thing.
Researchers are asking for help from human volunteers in Hawaii in addition to canines. The study needs hundreds of positive and negative samples so that the scent of the COVID-19 will be detected and sniffed out by the canines.
Dr. Whitney Limm, the Queen’s Health System Chief Physician Executive said the virus is not transmitted through sweat. For the study to be conducted, ideally, they want people who recently tested positive with the COVID-19 to contact them.
Limm stated, “What we will do is we will send a bag with a mask, t-shirt, socks, and a wristband inside. Furthermore, we will have them wear, wear them for around 12 hours, and afterward, send back the samples to us.”
A canine’s sense of smell is100,000 times stronger than humans. Hunter dogs, like Shiba Inu, have a notable sense of smell. The heightened sense of canines made researchers believe they can smell the COVID-19 virus, as they can also sense various types of cancer through scent.
The said study may take a few months (2-3 months) to finish. The preparation and training require canines that don’t become weary of searching or repeating the trials multiple times.
One of the canines partaking in the study is a one-and-a-half-year-old Labrador Retriever named Tess, she was an assistance canine in pediatrics at Queen’s.
Maurer said the oldest dog to participate in the study is a five-year-old yellow Labrador named Sadie. She’s in the program and they called it a career change for Sadie. Although she didn’t exactly meet the certain criteria to turn into a service, she’s truly appropriate and suited for this type of work.
On the off chance that the study is effective and successful, COVID-sniffing canines could be important for airport screening or at the passage of the local shopping center.
Limm stated, “Couldn’t want anything more than to identify individuals who are pre-symptomatic, or asymptomatic, and afterward, to say, hey, how about we see what we can do to isolate them from public and forestall the spread of COVID-19 virus.”