ScentLogix Trains 36 Dogs To Detect COVID-19 Symptoms In Nigeria - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

ScentLogix Trains 36 Dogs To Detect COVID-19 Symptoms In Nigeria

Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji 
ABEOKUTA - As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world, a firm, ScentLogix is exploring the possibility of using dogs to assist in the diagnosis of the pandemic.

According to the Vice President of the firm in Africa and Asia, Engr. Abayomi Odunowo the pilot training programme utilizing scent detection by dogs to discriminate between samples from COVID-19 positive and COVID-19 negative patients is the focus of a new research initiative of ScentLogix and the University of Security Ondo State.

This was disclosed on Monday by the vice president of the firm Africa and Asia, Abayomi Odunowo at a press briefing on the activities of the outfit.

Odunowo at a press briefing on Monday said canine detection in dogs if utilised would increase exponentially the country's capacity for testing which is very low at the moment.

Odunowo further stated that "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."

He noted that, ScentLogix is targeting the study with thirty Six dogs to perform this precise detection work. 

He added that, over the course of twenty two weeks through a process called odour imprinting, the dogs will be exposed to COVID-19 ScentLogix scent signature. 

Engr Abayomi Odunowo also confirmed that within the next few weeks, the dogs will receive ScentLogix samples of Covid-19  which would be used as the training aid  since Covid-19 has a unique odour which they can detect. 

Scent detection dogs can accurately detect low concentrations of volatile organic compounds. 

He however called on government across board and private entities to support the initiative saying the enormity of the challenge of the pandemic calls for coming together to fight it.

"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.

"We are however requesting the NSCDC, Federal and state Ministries of health and private entities to support us by backing this project.

The new Research Innovation, Odunowo said will be the first of its kind  in Africa.

The Vice president further stated that the support should provide the country with all critical logistics for expanding research and response program to fight the novel coronavirus.

"These VOCs are present in human blood, saliva, urine or breath which these dogs will detect.

"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.”

Also speaking, the head team in Nigeria, Prof. David Adebimpe said will allow the country to swiftly accelerate the diagnostic, detection and surveillance capabilities to fight COVID-19 and Lassa Fever and 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."

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