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Government delivers funding to research of C19 detector dogs

A Labrador sniffs a sample of human tissue dog-serious
© Medical Detection Dogs – Facebook

A research grant of £500,000 has been awarded to a British charity to enable further trials of Coronavirus sniffer dogs in the ongoing struggle to beat the pandemic.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 18/05/2020, 18:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:28

The charity’s trials are due to be carried out at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Durham University. Medical Detection Dogs already trains dogs to detect various medical conditions in humans.

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The injection of half a million pounds kick-starts the next phase of the trials, during which scientists will attempt to see whether the canine nose can detect human Coronavirus before symptoms appear.

Innovation minister Lord Bethell told the BBC he hoped the dogs could yield rapid results. The hope is that specialist sniffer dogs could play a role on the government's testing stage.

Six of the best

The bio-detection dogs undergoing trials are Labradors and Cocker Spaniels. Once trained, each dog would be expected to test up to 250 people an hour; tasked with detecting the presence of Covid-19 even in asymptomatic patients.

Six dogs called Norman, Digby, Storm, Star, Jasper and Asher are ready and raring to go! They will in due course work with NHS trusts in London sampling the breath and body odour of test subjects.

Medical Detection Dogs told the BBC the training could be complete within eight weeks.