Sniffing for the Coronavirus
Dogs have been our most beloved companions for centuries and now they might be able to help us in a completely different way.
In Finland, dogs are already helping to detect cancers of breasts and prostates. Now about 50 dogs are trained to find positive COVID-19 samples. Stock picture: Finland Today
Dogs have been trained to smell certain drugs and even diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s disease and in the most recent trials, they are being trained to detect coronavirus. To learn more about this we spoke to Anna Hielm-Björkman, a veterinarian and a researcher at the University of Helsinki.
In Finland, dogs have been trained to sniff canine and humane breast cancers as well as human prostate cancer. “The best dogs have a sensitivity and specificity of over 90 percent,” says Björkman. This percentage makes them ideal candidates for becoming diagnostic assistants. With a new virus comes a new smell and even though the research is still at its early stages, dogs seem to be able to detect this new scent after only a few weeks.
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Paulina BouzasForeign Correspondent at Finland TodayPaulina Bouzas was born and raised in Mexico and has an MA in Linguistics from the University of Eastern Finland. She enjoys writing about education, language and Finnish culture.
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