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UC Davis Researcher Studying Whether Dogs Can Detect The Smell Of COVID-19

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - A UC Davis alum is on a team of U.S. Army researchers trying to determine if dogs can smell the Coronavirus. Now, her research team has reached a new phase Of their work looking for COVID-19 "sweat" samples.

"So we're actually training the dogs to smell what we call the "stink bomb" that comes off a person when they are infected with the virus," said UC Davis Alum and current U.S. Army researcher Jenna Gadberry. 

Gadberry is part of the team researching whether dogs could learn to smell the coronavirus. 

"We want the dogs to be able to determine that someone -- even an asymptomatic person can actually give off these odors through their pores...and be able to determine this from a distance," she said. 

So far, scientists were able to isolate the virus inside jars for testing. They're seeking patients recently diagnosed with COVID-19, asking them to wear a T-shirt for 24 hours that would be used to help dogs sniff out the disease from sweat left on the shirts.

"We're actually looking at the metabolites that are coming off a COVID-19--positive patient," said Gadberry. 

If Gadberry's team can teach dogs to smell the virus, the specially trained K-9s would likely first be dispatched to screening checkpoints at public places like airports and schools to help identify undiagnosed coronavirus cases.

A dog's nose is more than 10,000 times more powerful at smelling than a human's. Research has shown they can even detect some forms of cancer. 

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