There are no words to express how grateful we are for the doctors, nurses, scientists, and other frontline workers who have spent every day this past year working hard to keep up healthy and safe. But did you knows dog have also played a huge role in slowing the spread of Covid-19?
All around the world, dogs have been training to detect Coronavirus by using their greatest strength - their sense of smell! With this training, dogs are able to quickly detect if a person has been infected in just seconds - meaning they can screen a lot of people in a very short amount of time.
According to Sky News, a German veterinary clinic has successfully trained dogs to perform this task with 94% accuracy. Two of the dogs being trained at Hanover's University of Veterinary Medicine are Filou the Belgian Shepherd and Joe the Cocker Spaniel.
Here in the U.S., Covid-sniffing dogs are allowing sports fans to enjoy games in person for the first time in months. The Miami Heat will have basketball fanatics in the stands thanks to the dogs that will greet each visitor at the door. Each person will be required to walk past one of the dogs and if the dog sits down, that indicates that the virus was detected. That person and the rest of their party will not be allowed in the arena, out of caution and safety for the rest of the guests.
"We're familiar with explosive detection canines, drug dogs and so forth, and in this case, the dogs are trained on the odor of the virus, or the metabolic changes of a person that produce an odor that they can be trained to alert to," said Kenneth Furton, the provost and executive vice president of Florida International University, which developed a task force to train Covid-detecting dogs.
He also mentioned that dogs who have no experience or training with scent detection could take months to train on Covid searches, but dogs who have already learned to sniff out other diseases, drugs or explosives can learn to pick up the virus "in a matter of days."
With this training, these dogs will be able to not only keep sports arenas safe, but will allow for safer and worry-free travel and other public gatherings as well. And they bring us one step closer to the end of this pandemic.