Specialist sniffer dogs are to be tested to see if they can detect coronavirus.
The charity Medical Detection Dogs has already trained dogs to spot the scent of malaria, cancer and Parkinson’s.
It plans trials on the current pandemic virus with Durham University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
The charity said: “Dogs searching for Covid-19 would be trained in the same way as those dogs the charity has already trained to detect diseases like cancer, Parkinson’s and bacterial infections – by sniffing samples in the charity’s training room and indicating when they have found it. They are also able to detect subtle changes in temperature of the skin, so could potentially tell if someone has a fever.
“Once trained, dogs could also be used to identify travellers entering the country infected with the virus or be deployed in other public spaces.”
If this is proven, the dogs could be used to screen anyone, including those with no symptoms.