BEREA, Ohio — Researchers around the world in countries like Germany have found that dogs may be utilized to detect coronavirus in humans.
What You Need To Know
- A local dog expert believes utilizing dogs to detect the virus in humans is more cost effective, accurate and yields quicker results
- He said a researcher at The Ohio State University is interested in making this idea a reality
- The research project is estimated to cost $50,000
- The Ohio Department of Health and the CDC say they’re not looking at this method of testing or conducting any related studies at this time
The testing method is even being put to use at the Dubai International Airport.
One Ohio man hopes to get a similar study operational in the Buckeye State.
Gary Broberg believes dogs are the answer to just about everything, including an improved COVID-19 testing method.
Maggie is Broberg’s latest dog and if he has it his way, she’ll be one of the first in line to help sniff out the coronavirus.
”They are the answer to this whole dilemma that we’re in right now," said Broberg, a dog expert.
The Berea man has worked with scent-detection dogs for more than 35 years. The former firefighter says he was the first FEMA search manager in Ohio, and worked alongside trained dogs to discover human remains after devastating events such as the U.S Air Flight 427 plane crash and the Oklahoma City Bombing.
Gary Broberg of Berea has worked with scent-detection dogs like Maggie for more than 35 years. He hopes to develop a study with an OSU researcher that proves utilizing dogs to detect the virus in humans is more cost effective, accurate & yield quicker results. @SpectrumNews1OH pic.twitter.com/BiPEnRKFCa— Micaela Marshall (@MMarshallTV) August 12, 2020
“Dogs will be more cost effective, accurate, and more expedient in determining the presence of the COVID-19," said Broberg.
But this dog expert said not all dogs are cut out for this. Breeds like Brittany Spaniels and Labrador Retrievers have the skillset.
“Not only track with their nose on the ground, but they need to be able to master the skill of pulling scent out of the air," said Broberg.
Broberg envisions it would work like this: you would place a patient’s mouth swab in a test tube, and then the trained dog would follow a command to sniff each sample and indicate a positive test by sitting. He says this method could even check for antibodies and identify people who are asymptomatic.
A second dog would verify any results, and to keep the dogs honest, Broberg says the proper reward isn’t food.
“They’re just looking for that love,” he said.
Scientists estimate that a canine’s sense of smell could be anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a human.
That’s why dogs have been trained to detect disease long before the coronavirus pandemic.
A 2016 National Institutes of Health study concluded that dogs can detect “virus-infected cell cultures.” It goes on to say, “this finding demonstrates the potential for utilizing dogs to detect pathogens in real-time which would be useful to identify or contain pathogen outbreaks.”
The Ohio Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both say they’re not looking at this method of testing or conducting any related studies at this time.
Broberg gave his opinion on why America is behind if there’s science saying it may work.
“Because there's huge money in producing these test kits and getting paid for it,” he replied.
Broberg said a researcher at The Ohio State University is interested in making this idea a reality and he’s already vetted 25 dogs and their handlers who want to participate in the study, but what’s missing is $50,000 to fund the research project.
This dog lover's goal is to see this kind of testing carried out in schools, stadiums, and public housing.
“It allows the institutions to come back alive. It would put Cleveland back on the map showing proactive ability and desires and technologies for keeping people really, really safe, make this a model for the United States," said Broberg.