Using Sniffer Dogs To Diagnose COVID - 19 Begins In Nigeria Soon - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Using Sniffer Dogs To Diagnose COVID - 19 Begins In Nigeria Soon



.                      •A dog from charity Medical 
                           Detection Dogs in Milton Keynes,
                           Britain in 2018


Heritage Odih, Abeokuta

A pilot study on the use of sniffee dogs to medically diagnose COVID 19  patients will soon commence in Nigeria.

The pioneer novel training programme entails utilizing scent sniffing and detection by dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and negative patients as well as Lassa Fever patients in the country.

The project is being championed by a firm, ScentLogix, and the University of Security, Ondo State.

The Vice  - President of the firm, Africa and Asia, Abayomi Odunowo, disclosed this to The Daily Crucible in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, while unveiling the activities of the outfit.

Odunowo said canine detective potential, if utilised could increase exponentially Nigeria's  capacity for testing COVID - 19, which, he added, remained very low at the moment.

He called on government across board and private entities to support the initiative, saying the enormity of  the challenges posed by the pandemic made  the call for collective efforts imperative  in the battle to contain the spread of the virus in the country.

The Vice President said further that the  initiative support should be provided  with support in all critical logistics for expanding research and response programme to fight the novel coronavirus.

He said: "With up to 300 million smell receptors – compared to six million in humans – dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection. 

"This pioneering study – that will explore the sensitivity and specificity of scent – sets the stage for dogs to be a positive force  in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging.

 "Peliminary screening of live humans by trained dogs in Nigeria could begin as early as July. The Dogs being trained to detect  the pandemic  could screen 750 people an hour

"We are however requesting the NSDC, Federal and state Ministries of health and private entities  to support us by backing this project.This new Research Innovation: Odunowo said will be the first of its kind  in Africa."

He explained that ScentLogix targets 36 dogs as participant - subjects for the training  on precise detection work, saying over the course of  22 weeks, the dogs will undergo odor imprinting process during the canines will be exposed to COVID -19
ScentLogix scent signature. 

Odunowo also confirmed hat within the next few weeks, the dogs would receive ScentLogix samples of COVID -19 as training aid since Covid-19 has a unique odour which could be detected by dogs. 

Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds which are present in human blood, saliva, urine or breath.

This study will harness the dog’s extraordinary ability to support the nation’s COVID-19 surveillance systems, with the goal of reducing community spread.

The team in Nigeria is headed by Prof David Adebimpe with head office in Annapolis USA and involved a group of multi-disciplinary researchers from across Africa. 

Adebimpe said the project  would  allow the researchers to swiftly accelerate diagnostic, detection and surveillance capabilities of the nation in its fight against COVID-19 and Lassa Fever as well as  understand how the SARS-CoV-2 virus leaves cells and spreads to other cells. 

He said:"There have already been so many fantastic achievements in the dogs’ work to detect human disease. ScentLogix produces the world’s finest K9 scent-training."

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