It is possible for dogs to screen approximately 250 people in an hour and they can be trained to identify disease odors.
Actually, dogs are already used in the detection of the presence of explosives, drugs, and money in places like stations and airports. In accordance with a paper in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, the sensitive olfactory sensory system of dogs is capable of detecting some specific substances and elements at concentrations that are incredibly low.
In fact, in accordance with Medical Detection Dogs, the sense of smell of dogs is significantly elevated because of their nose’s complex structure, which generally contains more than 300 million receptors in comparison with more than 5 million receptors in humans.
Furthermore, since different diseases have their unique odors, dogs can be effectively trained for detecting them. More than ten years of research performed by Medical Detection Dogs indicates that dogs are capable of detecting odors that can help the medical field. Therefore, for highly acute diseases like COVID-19, specialist dogs can play an important role.
How to Train Dogs?
It is important to note that tissues that are infected by pathogens generally release some unique volatile biomarkers. They become a part of the VOCs or volatile organic compound signature of disease. Now, these VOCs are usually emitted from feces, sweat, urine, and even breath. They are capable of reflecting on the metabolic conditions of individuals. When people are infected by an acute disease, this odor tends to change which can be detected by trained dogs.
Therefore, dogs can be trained to detect normal VOCs and infected ones. In the case of dogs, it is important to use sweat for making them accustomed to these specific odors as it is not considered infectious. It implies that the use of sweat presents less risk when it comes to the management of samples. While making dogs familiar with the odors, at least 6 to 8 weeks should be considered. Six to eight weeks are taken by an already trained dog to detect other scents. Meanwhile, if there is a dog that has never been trained before, it can easily take 3-6 months.
Benefits of Coronavirus Detection by Dogs
There are a number of benefits in the detection of coronavirus by dogs. First of all, financial and medical resources will be saved when dogs are used for the detection of coronavirus. Usually, there are tests that are developed for identifying coronavirus and screen people. It is worth noting that the development of these tests and performing them require a lot of money and time. Obviously, this serves to create problems for the government because a significant portion of investments has to be directed in their implementation.
Other than the consumption of money, there is a risk for the screening team as well. There is a likelihood that team members could be infected. Meanwhile, when dogs are used for detecting coronavirus, it does not only save money but it also eliminates the risk of spreading coronavirus to other people.
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