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Boston, Lincoln and Grantham hospital staff invited to take part in trial to see dogs can detect COVID-19

Hospital staff in Lincolnshire are taking part in a trial to see if medical detection dogs could help to diagnose COVID-19.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Boston, Lincoln and Grantham hospitals, has invited colleagues to take part in the research project to find alternative ways to diagnose those infected with the virus.

The acute sense of smell of dogs is already used to detect certain cancers and other diseases, and it is hoped that they may be able to turn their noses to helping with the pandemic.

Boston's Pilgrim Hospital (33287094)
Boston's Pilgrim Hospital (33287094)

Some diseases have a distinctive odour that it not detectable to most humans but which dogs – with their strongly developed sense of smell – find obvious.

NHS staff who are due to be screened for COVID-19 are simply asked to wear a mask and nylon socks to see if there is anything in their breath or body odour which can be detected by the trained medical detection dogs.

Associate Chief Nurse and Principal Investigator, Alun Roebuck, said: “Patients and staff at the Trust have already been enrolling onto a range of COVID-19 research studies and this is another exciting way where we can play our part and help to develop our understanding of this virus.

“It is so simple and yet could be ground-breaking in helping to detect the virus early in those who are not yet showing any symptoms.”

Covid-19 is not thought to be a health threat to dogs, though they can test positive for it.

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