COVID-19 SCENT DETECTION

Assistance Dogs of Hawaii is participating in a research study to teach dogs to detect the
presence of the COVID-19 virus in people.

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ADH ASSISTANCE DOGS HELP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Assistance Dogs of Hawaii (ADH), a Maui-based nonprofit organization,and Queens Medical Center in Oahu, are participating in a major research study to teach dogs to detect people with the coronavirus and help prevent the spread of infection. Phase 1 of the study is underway and includes using sweat samples to teach dogs the scent of COVID-19. Hundreds of positive and negative samples are needed for COVID scent detection research here in Hawaii and for our research partners in the United Kingdom.

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VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Volunteers on Oahu and Maui are currently being recruited for the study. Since the virus is not transmissible through sweat, participation in the study poses no risk of infection to people or the dogs.

Volunteers must:

  • Be age 18 or over

  • Have a PCR test within 72 hours of participating in study


It’s quick and simple to participate. Oahu residents can either call or email The Queens Medical Center at 808-691-8761 or canines@queens.org.  Maui residents can call ADH at 808-298-0167 or email:  info@assistancedogshawaii.org

MEET THE DOGS

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SADIE

Age: 5

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Temperament: Intelligent, confident, intuitive

Favorite Things: Hiking & car rides

Birthplace: Maui

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SAMSON

Age: 2

Breed: Golden Retriever

Temperament: Funny, affectionate, sociable

Favorite Things: Tennis balls, swimming, playing

Birthplace: Australia

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TESS

Age: 1 1/2

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Temperament: Easy going, loves to learn, eager to please

Favorite Things: people, sniffing, napping

Birthplace: Australia

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YUKI

Age: 1 1/2

Breed: Labrador Retriever

Temperament: Focused, energetic, determined

Favorite Things: School, friends, learning

Birthplace: Australia

FAQ

WHY DOGS?

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and are one of the world’s best biosensors. They have over 300 million scent receptors and their olfactory acuity is over 100,000 times stronger than humans. This, combined with their ability to learn has made them valuable allies in detecting bombs, drugs and various types of disease. Since 2014, ADH has participated in research studies on the capacity of dogs to identify disease and published the first study on dogs detecting bacterial infections in humans.

WHO ARE THE RESEARCH PARTNERS?

This research partners include Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, The Queens Medical Center, Medical Detection Dogs UK, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

WHO IS LEADING THE HAWAII PROJECT?

Dr. Todd Seto is a researcher and the head of the COVID-19 task force at Queens Medical Center in Honolulu. ADH Executive Director Maureen Maurer, has a Master of Science in Canine Studies and was the principal investigator in a 2016 study to detect life-threatening bacterial infections in humans.

HOW WILL DOGS BE ABLE TO HELP?

Once trained, the goal is for COVID-19 detection dogs to be deployed to airports and other public places to provide rapid, non-invasive screening for COVID-19.

WHEN AND WHERE WILL THE DOGS BE TRAINED?

Dogs will be trained on the ADH main campus on Maui over the next two to three months.

IS THE STUDY SAFE FOR DOGS, VOLUNTEERS AND RESEARCHERS?

The dogs in Hawaii are being trained to detect COVID-19 in sweat samples, which does not carry the risk of transmission to animals or humans.