2 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
It has been known for a while that dogs might be able to sniff out COVID-19, but before, it was uncertain when these dogs would finally start using their special talents. Since this pandemic began, dogs have been training to detect the virus’ scent. After all, dogs can detect the smell of other medical conditions due to their superior noses, so the coronavirus should be no different.
COVID-Sniffing Dogs Are on the Job!
The Helsinki Airport in Finland is currently the first airport in Europe to use these detection dogs, and they’re the second in the world. They employed four skilled dogs for this role. Two of them work while the other two get well-deserved breaks. After all, even working dogs deserve time off to be loved and cuddled.
Currently, the COVID-19 testing at this airport is optional, but it’s a quick and painless test. Each person needs to dab their neck with a wipe. Then, that wipe is placed in a jar for safety and put next to other jars with different scents. The dog can sniff those jars and determine if the person has the coronavirus. If the dog smells the coronavirus on a sample, they will yelp, lay down, or paw at it to let someone know.
If the dog indicates that the person has COVID-19, they will have to go through another test to confirm that dog’s conclusion. So far, the dogs have almost 100% accuracy. They can even detect the virus in a smaller molecule pool than other tests. They only need 100 molecules to smell it while laboratory equipment needs about 18 million! A dog’s nose is incredible!
How Will This Benefit the Future?
Hopefully, dogs will be used more in the future to detect the coronavirus. These jobs are not difficult or stressful for the dogs in any way, and they get breaks just like a human would. Human noses aren’t strong enough to smell a virus, but dog noses can detect even the tiniest change in a person’s molecules.
This new discovery could greatly slow the spread of COVID-19. Eventually, dogs could test people whenever they walk into a major airport or busy business. This could help ensure that the virus doesn’t spread even further. It might take a while to train that many dogs for the task, but it will definitely be worth it in the long run.
But for now, please just continue to be extra safe and cautious. Humans can get through this if they just work together.
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Photos from @HelsinkiAirport/Twitter