It’s no surprise to see police with trained K-9s at the airport, but man’s four-legged best friend is now lending a paw in the fight against COVID-19.
The first-of-its-kind team of COVID-19-sniffing dogs has deployed to Miami International Airport. The specially trained, 7-year-old canines can sniff out infected travelers before they board an airplane.
The two dogs, a Belgian Malinois named Cobra and a Dutch shepherd named One Betta, have perfected their sense of smell so keenly, trainers say they are roughly 97% accurate in spotting the coronavirus.
“After hundreds of training sessions at FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus in Miami this year, the detector dogs achieved accuracy rates from 96 to 99 percent for detecting COVID-19 in published peer-reviewed, double-blind trials,” the airport said on its website.
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“We’re blessed in Miami-Dade County to have the first COVID-sniffing dogs, and it’s the first airport anywhere that’s utilizing this type of technology in our four-legged friends,” said Miami-Dade Commission Chair Jose “Pepe” Diaz.
Initially, the team will sniff employees’ face coverings as they go through security. The dogs can detect the virus in humans’ sweat, breath, and body odor through metabolic changes in the body, regardless of people’s scents. The airport hopes to expand the program with additional pups.
If someone tests positive, the airport said screeners would ask them to undergo a rapid COVID-19 test.