coronavirus

Dogs and Coved-19

Can Dogs be used to Detect COVID-19?

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Can Dogs be used to Detect COVID-19? Sense of smell is often unappreciated but in reality it is a very vital sense as it allows us to perform various things without even physically touching or seeing them. The ability to smell is a part of the chemosensory system. That has special sensory cells. They are located in the nasal cavity, they have nerve cells called olfactory cells which send information to your brain. Then the brain processes it and identifies what the specific smell of.
The sense of smell has been used for ages to know specific places or to remember things. It allows you to bring back memories. Study says it has smell has 65% accuracy as compared to that of vision which is 50%. Sometimes you enter the house and without even looking you can guess what’s for dinner because it has that familiar smell to it. It can stimulate emotions e.g. how you feel good after smelling the petrichor. It doesn’t stop their danger and the bad smells alert your brain to be attentive, so we can avoid the situation. So this gives us an overview how important the sense of smell.

Animals have a great sense of smell. They perform very important tasks thanks to their sense of smell. The prime examples are Elephants are aided by their trunks and it helps them in surviving the difficulties of the jungle, they can locate water up to 20 km away. Bears that use their sense of smell to hunt for food, danger, and their young ones. Their sense of smell is 2,100 times better than humans.
Now come the most common animal that is found among the humans are dogs. They also possess a heightened sense of smell because they have 300 million olfactory receptors which is almost twice as much as humans, they are often relied on their nose to perform lifesaving tasks. They also alert the owners about dangers e.g. trained dogs can locate a bomb. Not only that they can pick up human emotions as well so whenever you are sad or anxious it’s likely that your dogs are aware of it.

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This strong sense of smell is being used by doctors for a greater purpose. Dogs have been trained to detect different types of diseases in humans. Some dogs are being trained to detect Parkinson’s disease. During a test a dog selects 1 out of 4 shirts, one of which was worn by a Parkinson’s affected patient, and three of them were worn by a healthy person. The dogs also help the scientists in developing some early detection techniques, because they can expose the cancer cells through saliva and even breath. They even help you by telling you about the low blood sugar levels. They alert you about low or high blood sugar levels. These are obviously heightened through training.

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Now given the global scale of the COVID-19 everyone is trying to help however they can. Some scientists in the U.S are training dogs to detect COVID-19. They are using a technique known as Odor imprinting. Through this they can detect COVID-19 in people through their saliva and urine, they detect low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Scientists are claiming that with training of 6 weeks dogs will be able to detect these VOCs. Once dogs get familiar and trained they will be able detect COVID-19 in patients, each individual dog can screen up to 250 people per hour. These are still early stages the scientist are even unsure if it has a specific odor or not, but dogs are known for detecting even the small changes in human physiology such as fever etc. If there is a specific odor this could help in prevention of the spread of disease. Trained dogs could be deployed at public areas such as airports so they can look for persons that might be positive with this disease. This would be fast, non-invasive and a cheap way to detect COVID-19 as most of the world economy is being affected by the pandemic. Dogs can help us in containing Do you have any suggestions that can provide such a simple and inexpensive solution? Do you think scientists will be able to perform this feat by training the dogs to detect COVID-19? Because in these stressful time by we can prevail only by standing together and helping each other out.

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M. Ahmad Zia

M. Ahmad Zia is a technology entrepreneur and a researcher in healthcare technology. Click the link below to get in touch with him.

Technology against covid-19

COVID-19 and Role of Technology

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2020 opened with a disaster of Australian bushfires but it didn’t stop there it had something else in the bag for the world. COVID-19 has shadowed the world right now, no place on earth is safe such is the spread of this dreadful disease is. During these trying times any help that people can gather comes as a spring of life for people. All the professions and fields of work are trying their level best to introduce new technology against COVID-19 to counter this situation. Similarly, tech isn’t lagging, in these contemporary times when most of our lifestyles revolve around tech related goods and equipment tech must keep up the pace with a pandemic of such scale.

A lot of app developers are partnering up with pharmaceutical companies and doctors to provide patients the ease of consultation and tele-medicine at their homes. They can log in to these apps by downloading them from either Playstore or Appstore depending on what OS you are using. These apps are really helpful as they help with any minor inconveniences you might face during the lockdown. People can access them and ask for consultations on diabetes, hypertension, etc. by adding in technology against COVID-19, the developers said this can help millions of people stay safe as they would not leave the security of their houses and get the opinion of world-class doctors and pharmaceutical experts.

COVID-19 came in hard and swift and as it was a first of its kind pandemic medical experts and healthcare workers didn’t have much time to prepare. To counter this a free online resource has been launched. This assure that every healthcare professional receives the essential knowledge about how to keep themselves and their patients safe. They also provide access to any updates and new guidelines regarding the research taking place all over the world. It is a very critical step because in all the rush of COVID-19 it is critical that we keep our front line defenders i.e. healthcare workers ready and prepared.

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Facebook is one of the biggest tech companies in the world. They also own Instagram and WhatsApp, so the reach they possess is enormous. The owner of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have donated $13.6 million to research that is dedicated to COVID-19. This research is being conducted in collaboration with some of the biggest in institutes in the world. This research aims to find out how exactly COVID-19 spreads and what areas are being affected the most and the reasons for it. They are planning on compiling this data and handing it over to the concerned parties so they can be more effective in their fight against COVID-19.

Another great initiative being taken by medical companies is designing a test that is easy to use. Tech has allowed us to develop safety measures and methods that may be impossible to produce in the past. These test kits allow the patients to perform a test by themselves. Cotton swabs in the shape of Q tips are being used to collect samples from the nose and saliva. These are then put into an airtight sealed bag that comes included with a test and sent to a lab for molecular testing. This is a safe way to get yourself tested in a time where lockdown is being observed, this will allow you to get tested without even stepping outside your home.

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Wearables are playing a vital role in containing COVID-19. Countries have introduced bracelets that keep track of the patients that were tested positive for COVID-19. They allow the doctors and healthcare workers to closely track their patients without being physically there all the time. They also double as a strict tracking and tracking device, allowing governments to keep track of people who are infected so they can observe if the patients are observing the rules of their isolation or not. The authorities are notified if the patients breach the guidelines of their isolation or if the bracelet gets powered out. This is a great way to keep the spread of COVID-19 under check as the number of cases is increasing day by day.

All of these examples show us how in contemporary world tech can help us in fighting COVID-19 to the fullest. Which of these technologies you think is groundbreaking? The world is going through a tough phase right now but with all of the big tech companies pitching in we can fight this together and move towards the containment and eventually the elimination of COVID-19.

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Written by…

M. Ahmad Zia

M. Ahmad Zia is a technology entrepreneur and a researcher in healthcare technology. Click the link below to get in touch with him.