One of super-sniffer dogs’ greatest asset is to sniff and provide solutions in complex situations. We have witnessed this in crime scenes whether at residences, malls, or even airports. Maybe this is one of the reasons why dogs are considered man’s best friend. Previously, dogs have been trained to sniff and detect illnesses like malaria, cancer and even Parkinson’s disease. The world has witnessed troubled times starting 2020, and there are no signs of it letting down. Corona has become a pandemic and doctors are battling hard to find not only effective ways to cure but also efficient ways to detect. This is where our loyal K9s play a solid role.

The dogs can detect correctly if someone is infected with Covid  94% of the time, this proves that this method has a very high success rate. What is really great about this new way of detecting covid is that the Super-sniffer dogs, having a very powerful sense of smell are able to produce results very fast, in only under a minute. 

The findings come from a joint research project between The London School of hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Durham University. They have worked with 6 medical detection dogs over a period of 7 months teaching and training them to recognize the scent of covid-19 and testing the dog’s ability to identify samples. They also found that the dogs could detect the virus despite the level of infection that the patients had, which means that they could detect patients with a very low viral load and asymptomatic cases just as readily as they could detect patients with high viral loads. 

In this way, there is also a pilot project at the Helsinki airport which also saw dogs being able to identify nearly every sample. Thai researchers also reported that their dogs had a 95% success rate with approximately 2000 samples. At the Dubai International Airport, an area was dedicated to detect covid-19 using K9 police dogs. Samples are taken in collaboration with the partners from DHA and results are produced in less than a minute. The UAE is the first in the world to use K9 unit police super- sniffer dogs to detect covid cases in all airports. 

If the dogs signal that the sample they are sniffing is a positive case, then that particular individual is taken in for a PCR test to cross verify. 

This extra help comes as the virus takes a heavy toll and many more cases are being reported. More cases have been reported this year than in the whole of 2020. Quickly identifying cases and isolating those who are affected is key to keeping the virus from spreading, and this is something that could change the way in which diagnostics look because a rapid test could be done first and then followed up with a PCR test if found positive. Researchers say it is still early but several countries are working with dogs to confirm how they can help in the fight against Covid-19.


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