Scientists training dogs to sniff out coronavirus

(Photo: Bloomberg)

If you’ve ever seen a coronavirus test being done, then you are aware of how painful it looks. But, in the unfortunate event that you become infected with the virus, you may not have to go through all of that as scientists are working on a new form of testing that involves dogs.

Yes, BUZZ fam, you read right. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine are training dogs to detect the virus in infected people.

So here’s how it works; changes in our health often alter the way we smell, and dogs have 50 times as many smell receptors as people. This makes them great biosensors with a proven ability to detect not only drugs and explosives but some diseases. These include hidden cancers, sudden shifts in blood sugar levels caused by diabetes, parasitic infections like malaria, and bacterial and viral infections including, potentially, the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

When the training of these dogs is complete, they can potentially screen up to 250 people an hour. These include infected individuals who are asymptomatic, in nursing homes, businesses and airports.

It would also be a quicker, less invasive and, perhaps,more accurate than current forms of clinical testing.

The breed of dog used in the research is the Belgian malinois, known for their keen sense of smell.