Out of 22 trusts up and down the country Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is currently the top recruiting Trust taking part in the Covid-19 Detection Dogs study (as of Friday 18th September 2020).
The trial, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in collaboration with the charity Medical Detection Dogs and Durham University, will determine whether dogs could be used as a new rapid, non-invasive diagnostic tool for the virus.
The Trust has over 200 members of staff signed up to provide samples of breath and body odour by wearing a mask for three hours and nylon socks and T-shirt for twelve hours, as well as taking a swab test to identify if they are infected with Covid-19.
Trust Chief Executive Neil Macdonald and Chief Nurse Karen Bonner have actively promoted the study and participated in the trial on one of the hottest days of the year.
Once samples have been collected, they are sent to LSHTM where researchers analyse them to identify specific compounds in odour that are present when someone is infected with Covid. These so-called ‘biomarkers’ could be used to indicate if someone is infected with the virus or not.
The samples are then processed and sent to the Medical Detection Dogs training centre in Milton Keynes where they are used to train the dogs to identify the smell of the virus.
Dr Raha West, Principal Investigator at the Trust said: ‘My team and I are ecstatic to learn that we remain the highest recruiting site in the country. We are extremely grateful to all of our colleagues at the Trust, not only for their participation but also for their immense support for the success of this trial.
We still require more participants for this study so please do not hesitate to contact our research team on [email protected] if you’re a member of Trust staff and would like to find out more.‘
Members of the public are also able to donate samples for the study by calling the ARCTEC team at LSHTM on 0207 927 2777 or sending an email to [email protected]. For more information about volunteering as a member of the public, please visit lshtm.ac.uk/covid-19-dogs.
Further information on the trial can be found on the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine website.
*Source of article : Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.