How Dogs are Detecting the Coronavirus
Across the globe researchers are racing to find a solution to the global pandemic inducing COVID-19 . From detection to treatment, there is still much to be learned about the virus and how to prevent a second wave of the fatal strain.
Like Timmy in the Well…
Help seems to be on the way in the form of “man’s best friend”. A study published by the University of Helsinki has added one more skill to dog’s already impressive resume. The study found that scent detection trained canines have the ability to smell the virus in urine samples obtained by both positive and negative tested individuals. Upon future test results, the study hopes this information will be able to assist in the prevention of mass or cluster infection by utilizing scent detection dogs in airports, hospitals, and other high-risk exposure environments.
Due to being equipped with approximately 100 million sensory receptors, dogs utilize both smell AND sight together to analyze things around them. While these canines can’t see the virus, the amount of space in their brain devoted to analyzing and interpreting smells is 40 times greater than their human counterpart. This kind of biology has made these animals historically supportive in almost every aspect of human life.
While all dogs have these receptors, there are breeds more frequently trained due to a particularly heightened sniffer. Breeds such as Labrador Retriever, German Shepard, and Belgian Malinois have a long history of scent detection for hunting, security, and military purposes.
Protecting the Pups
As for the protection of our furry forensic investigators, those undertaking the research have utilized a distance model to expose dogs to the scent without getting them close enough to risk of infection. The CDC has confirmed dogs can carry trace amounts of the virus on their bodies, and has confirmed a few cases of dogs contracting the virus similarly to human infection.
The hunt for a cure starts with detection. From researchers in universities across the world, to a seasoned trainer and former Air Force survival instructor in Florida, studies are proving over and over that dogs ability to detect the virus proves almost perfect. While still early, this type of discovery offers hope for an end of a global pandemic.
For more Good Boy Good News, check out how to video chat with a puppy during you summer social distancing.
Just announced, two major Fortune 500 companies will team up to provide prescription delivery via drones to patients living in the USA’s largest retirement community.
Global leader in logistics and business technology, UPS, issued a statement saying they would be joining forces with healthcare giant, CVS, to facilitate drone delivery of prescription medicines.
UPS (NYSE:UPS) and CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS.N) today said UPS subsidiary UPS Flight Forward (UPSFF) will use drones to deliver prescription medicines from a CVS pharmacy to The Villages, Florida for the largest U.S. retirement community, home to more than 135,000 residents. The service will use Matternet’s M2 drone system.UPS press release 4/27/2020
With the current global pandemic there is much more value in services that reduce human interaction. People now tend to prefer delivery options over in-store pick-up. Using drones could greatly reduce the risk of exposure of the coronavirus , especially for at-risk age groups like the elderly.
Past tests of the drone delivery system have proven it is a safe and efficient way to deliver goods. According to PCMag, UPS received approval from the FAA to operate a drone delivery system in 2019. The first prescription medicine delivery was completed in North Carolina a few months later.
The planned service could begin as soon as May, assuming FAA compliance. The success of this project could lead to a complete shift in medicine delivery and may prove the usefulness of drones in shipping.
“Now more than ever, it’s important that our customers have access to their prescriptions,” said Jon Roberts, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CVS Health. “In addition to our in-store pickup, free delivery services and drive through pickup, this drone delivery service provides an innovative method to reach some of our customers.”Jon Roberts, CVS
Do you think drones are the answer to our social distancing conundrum? Comment Below!
Zoos and aquariums can be great educational resources and can help protect endangered species but many conservationists question the morality of captivity. Modern robotics may have the answer to our moral dilemma, life-like animatronic animals. This development could change how we view conservation and education for years to come.
A Need Rises
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries such as China have halted the trade of wildlife as an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Policies such as this have stopped zoos and aquariums from importing new animals. This is great for our wildlife but it leaves zoo and aquarium owners in a tough spot. Luckily, one New Zealand entrepreneur has been working to create robotic animals that could take the place of live animals in captivity.
Melanie Langlotz and her team of experts helped build a 600lb (270kg) animatronic dolphin that moves and reacts just like the real thing. Working as an augmented gaming professional in Auckland, New Zealand, Langlotz was approached to help design an aquarium for dolphins in China. She needed to find a way to create a beautiful attraction without subjecting wild animals to captivity.
“I started talking to anyone I could get my hands on who has ever had anything to do with animatronics. I was pretty much told that, ‘this is too hard’, ‘it’s really difficult’, ‘it’s a real piece of engineering artwork’ because they would be in salt water, there’s lots of electronics in there, let alone that they need to be on display for a long time. I couldn’t find anyone.”Melanie Langlotz via RNZ
Langlotz did find help for the project, super-star help. Roger Holzberg and Walt Conti are known in the entertainment business for their work on animatronics in movies, so they came well equipped. The team created a prototype robot dolphin and began testing, with great results.
Realizing The Future
Imagine visiting your local aquarium and seeing the rarest and most exotic sea-life from around the world, even extinct species. Now imagine jumping in the tank to take a swim with the sharks, without the fear of getting bit! The incredible potential of animatronics is changing how we see more than just aquariums.
“This type of technology doesn’t just have to live in a themed aquarium. If I were to imagine … a sequel to Whale Rider, where we could go into the ocean, this technology would serve that incredibly well. This technology could also serve television, other kinds of storytelling media very well, and other sort of educational means.”Roger Holtzberg via RNZ
Thanks to hard-working entrepreneurs like Melanie Langlotz the needs of business and conservation efforts are being met as one. Time will tell if regulation and technology can change the tides on animal captivity for future generations.
Scientists with the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) recently announced their observations of the Arctic Ozone layer via Twitter.
A record setting hole in the arctic ozone layer formed earlier this month according to The Independent. Holes in the ozone layer cause the suns harmful radiation to penetrate the earths’ atmosphere and can accelerate the process of global warming.
Ozone layer holes around the arctic and antarctic are actually usual occurrences. When freezing temperatures are brought on by the changing seasons the ozone layer is more likely to be damaged by chlorofluorocarbons(CFCs). The recent record breaking arctic ozone hole was brought on by one unusually strong polar vortex earlier this month, according to CAMS.
“Although it looks like the polar vortex has not quite come to an end yet and will reform in the next few days, ozone values will not go back to the very low levels seen earlier in April”CAMS Twitter
The positive news about the arctic ozone layer comes after years of environmental efforts and regulations from countries and organizations around the globe. The ban on CFCs years ago has allowed the ozone layer to slowly recover, much more still needs to be done.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a highly reduced rate of human pollution to the environment but when CAMS was asked if lock-downs have contributed to the closure of the ozone hole , they said,
“This Arctic ozone hole actually has nothing to do with coronavirus-related lockdowns, but rather was caused by an unusually strong and long-lived polar vortex.”CAMS via Independent
Hopefully the closing of this arctic ozone hole is a sign that the people of this planet are finally taking environmentalism seriously.
What are your ideas for reducing your carbon footprint? Comment below!