Winning by a nose: the dogs being trained to detect signs of Covid-19

In the battle against the virus, we have an unlikely ally. Already used to detect drugs and weapons, dogs are now being trained to sniff out when humans have the virus. Tim Lewis meets the trainers and their hounds

Asher was a problem dog. A hyperactive and unruly chocolate-brown cocker spaniel with ears like pittas and a Rudi Völler frizzy shag, he was shunted from owner to owner, maybe as many as seven by the age of three. He was taken on by the charity Medical Detection Dogs, which was looking for working dogs to train up, but even after being placed with a seasoned “socialiser”, Asher still wouldn’t sleep and kept trying to escape. He was set to be returned to a rescue centre until Medical Detection Dogs’s co-founder Dr Claire Guest gave him a final chance.

“We work a lot with spaniels and labradors that people have bought as pets, but they end up in rescue because they’re just bouncing off the walls,” explains Guest on a video call from her home near Milton Keynes, before breaking into a broad grin. “That’s just the sort of dog we love. The reason they’re bouncing off the walls is they just want to do and everything they do, they get in trouble for. We give them something to do!”

If you’ve got a plane with 500 people coming off, 10% can be asymptomatic. The dog can quickly say, ‘You, you, you’

We’ve had a lot of people in hospitals who are saying, ‘We can smell Covid-19’. It’s not proof but it gives us hope

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Source: theguardian
Winning by a nose: the dogs being trained to detect signs of Covid-19