A pilot study on the use of dogs, to diagnose the dreadful covid-19 pandemic ravaging many countries, may start in Nigeria in July.
The pilot training programme utilising scent detection by dogs to discriminate between samples from Covid-19 positive and negative patients would have 36 dogs as pioneer participants in the novel research initiative of a firm – ScentLogix and the University of Security, Ondo State.
The trainee-dogs are expected to receive ScentLogix samples of Covid-19 in the next few weeks as training aid, since Covid-19 has a unique odour that could easily be detected by dogs.
Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs) which are present in human blood, saliva, urine or breath, the team leader in Nigeria, Prof. David Adebimpe, said.
Also, Vice President of the firm in Africa and Asia, Abayomi Odunowo, who broke the news to reporters in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said preliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs in Nigeria could begin as early as July.
According to him, the dogs being trained to detect the pandemic could screen 750 people within an hour.
An expert in the Department of Veterinary Medicine, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Dr Adetona Sikiru, said there was a possibility of using dogs to detect coronavirus.
He, however, noted that the trials conducted in the United States and the United Kingdom were inconclusive.