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Man's best friend being used to detect COVID-19

Health experts fear a second wave of coronavirus infections without a vaccine. Now, some researchers in the UK and the US believe dogs could be a solution.

Man's best friend could be a key player in the fight against the coronavirus. 

Researchers in the UK launching a trial to see if dogs can sniff out people with COVID-19. 

"In this study we aim to determine whether people who have COVID-19 have a distinctive body odor and then training dogs to detect it. This could completely revolutionize the way that we are tackling this disease."

The goal is to determine whether COVID-19, like many viruses, has its own scent. 

Six dogs, made up of labradors and cocker spaniels, will be given odor samples from those infected with the virus and those uninfected. 

If the training works, the dogs could be deployed to airports across the UK to screen the thousands of people coming into the country. 

Another possibility is to use the dogs at testing sites as an additional form of screening. 

Researchers hope the canines will be able to detect COVID-19 before symptoms appear so the pandemic can be further mitigated. 

"The basic idea is that we can screen travelers innocently coming into this country who may be carrying COVID-19, detect those people and isolate them from the rest of the community."

This isn't the first time our furry friends have been enlisted to detect diseases. 

Dogs have been trained to sniff out malaria, cancer and even Parkinson's disease. 

That's because the part of the dog's brain devoted to investigating smells is about 40 times greater than humans. 

"They have 300 million scent detectors in their nose, compared to a human's six million."

A similar study is also underway at the University of Pennsylvania. 

If the research is successful, canines could be smelling out coronavirus cases as early as this summer. 

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