Lead researcher Dominique Grandjean at France’s National Veterinary School of Alfort is training dogs to sniff out COVID-19. Since March eager canine noses have been exposed to sweat samples from people infected with coronavirus. Accurate detection requires 6-8 weeks training for dogs already primed to detect other triggers, 3-6 months training for rookie canines. Once dialed in, dogs exposed to a line of sweat samples can identify COVID with close to 100% accuracy. Notably identifying asymptomatic persons with remarkable acuity.
On average, dogs have about 220 million scent receptors. Image via Shutterstock/
Today, COVID sniffer dogs are being trained in the UAE, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Belgium. In the UAE (United Arab Emirates) COVID-19 detector dogs now patrol airports. The ability to identify asymptomatic infection is huge, perhaps the difference between boarding a plane safely, or sitting next to someone unaware they’re carrying the virus.