When it comes to flying, a lot of things are changing right now. Currently, some airlines are blocking out middle seats to promote social distancing, while airline design firms are experimenting with the idea of reverse seating. Besides what's being done in-flight, the TSA has rolled out new security measures. Sadly, travel as we once knew it is over, and while many of the actions that will be put into place might not be the most favorable, we may have found a tiny silver lining: dogs!
CNN Traveler reports that trials are currently taking place in the U.K. to evaluate whether airport sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19 in travelers, even before symptoms appear. Although developing a certain scent isn't a symptom of COVID-19 per se, researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine claim that respiratory diseases can actually change body odor, and when trained properly, the dogs will be able to pick up this shift in COVID-19 sufferers. While sniffer dogs are usually trained to scope out drugs, weapons, and/or other contraband, there has been success in the past amongst sniffer dogs trained to detect infections and diseases in travelers, including cancer, malaria and Parkinson's disease.
The London School has teamed up with the UK's Durham University, as well as the charity Medical Detection Dogs to test out this theory. The UK government has allocated more than £500,000 (over $600,000) for this project. And now, for the fun part: Six cunning dogs, which are all either labradors or cocker spaniels, have been recruited. They've been aptly named "The Super Six."
While we'll have to wait a little longer to see how this trial goes, fingers crossed its a success. Not only would it that be a remarkable discovery, but a few extra four-legged friends at the airport are sure to bring some smiles to travelers’ faces.
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