Canines have a unique ability to detect the odors of COVID-19 when the virus is active. Dogs from Austria to Britain to Thailand have been deployed to detect its presence, delivering an extra safety line for border entry, large events, and other group activities.
Airports in Chile and Finland were the first to deploy dogs as a screening tool against COVID in 2020.
According to Austrian authorities who have trained at least two dogs to detect COVID, the success rate is far above 80%.
It Takes About Three Months to Train Dogs to Detect COVID
When a dog is already trained to sniff out substances, it only takes about two weeks for trainers to help them recognize the presence of COVID.
It then takes another three months for them to be fully trained to detect its presence in masks, clothing, or other items.
Most countries don’t have specific plans to deploy canines trained to detect COVID-19, but there is global support to help those who want this defense line.
Dogs have a remarkable capability of picking up the volatile compounds that different infections cause in the human body. Their sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than what humans have, which is why detecting the coronavirus is possible.
As the proof of concept work continues, you can expect to see more COVID-sniffing dogs at schools, airports, and public venues. Although the detection rate isn’t as high as some rapid antigen tests, it’s still a helpful tool to help us end this pandemic once and for all.