While the virus has not yet been detected in the bodily fluids to be used in the study, both positive and negative samples will be heat treated and sealed in a special canister that allows odors to escape but eliminates the threat of any potential exposure to the dogs or their handlers.
The canister, called a canine training aid delivery device, was invented at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Chemical Biological Center in Maryland. The center is a partner in the coronavirus detection project with Penn Vet, and is providing that equipment and additional subject-matter expertise.
“The Army is interested in supporting efforts that can benefit the warfighter, as well as the general population,” Patricia Buckley, a supervisory biologist at the center providing government overview of the coronavirus detection project, said in an email. “Any effort that can utilize the expertise and knowledge here at CCDC CBC to provide support to a program with such a broad application is of interest.”