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WATCH: Duchess of Cornwall impressed with amazing skills of COVID-sniffing dogs

Duchess of  Cornwall meets dogs dog-wow
© Clarence House - Instagram

Two clever canines, Basil and Bob, could be our secret weapon in the fight against COVID-10 and the Duchess of Cornwall went to meet them to watch them in action.

By Zoë Monk

Published on the 29/10/2020, 18:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:24

The Duchess of Cornwall, alongside health secretary Matt Hancock, made an appearance at London’s Paddington Station to meet two exceptional dogs from her charity, Medical Detection Dogs.

Labradors Bob and Basil are trained to sniff out COVID, and the Duchess of Cornwall was able to watch them show off their skills.

Sniff out COVID

The clever canines are trained to pick out positive samples of COVID-19 using their tremendous sense of smell. Under the watchful eye of the Duchess of Cornwall, the pair took part in a series of tests which included five human volunteers. One of the volunteers was wearing clothing that had the odour of COVID-19 on it. The dogs had the job of sniffing it out.

The Duchess was very impressed to see Bob and Basil both pass with flying colours on six different tests. You can check out photos and a video of the dogs undergoing their testing below:


🚂 At Paddington Station today, The Duchess of Cornwall thanked @britishtransportpolice and @networkrail staff for the work they do to keep us on the move safely. British Transport Police oversee the journeys of over 6 million passengers every day, from London Underground, to Glasgow Subway and Emirates AirLine. During the pandemic, police force have been deployed across the network to engage with passengers and offer reassurance and guidance. Similarly, the dedication of Network Rail staff has ensured passengers have been able to continue to travel safely during Covid-19. The station teams have put safety measures in place, including one-way systems, floor markings and appointed social distancing staff. While at the station, Her Royal Highness was joined by @matthancockmp to see how @medicaldetectiondogs have progressed in their training. 🐶 The charity are working hard to ascertain whether dogs can detect the odour of Covid-19. If successful, dogs could help to diagnose the disease through screening people. Training includes getting the dogs comfortable in different environments, in order to feel happy and relaxed in public whilst remaining focused on their role. It is vital that the dogs are not affected by sudden noises, different environments and sounds that we take for granted. ⬅️ 🐾 Swipe across to see the Medical Detection Dogs in action! 📸 PA / Clarence House

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While the dogs are undergoing training at busy locations like Paddington Station, they will also take part in trials at football stadiums, shopping centres and schools to see how they cope with different distractions around them.

Game changer for diagnosing COVID

The trials are part of a collaboration between the Duchess’ charity, Durham University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The hope is that those dogs who can pick up a positive COVID-19 result within half a second will be a game-changer for the way the disease is diagnosed and enable quicker screener of people in public places such as train stations and airports.

Check out our guide to find out what your dog can smell.

Watch also: Government delivers funding to research of C19 detector dogs