Five schools in Massachusetts, US, have employed dogs trained to sniff out the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) among students and staff in schools. The BBC reported that two sniffer dogs, Hantah and Duke, were trained by the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University to detect odors associated with COVID-19 infection.
Dogs roam the classrooms, cafeterias, corridors and other school premises and if they smell COVID-19 on someone, they stop and put their paws in the area where they were detected with the virus. After the students and staff are identified, they are sent for testing.
Schools are following a strict seating plan and have embedded desks and chairs with barcodes that need to be scanned before the student can sit down. This helps them determine who used the desk.
People have reacted differently to this new development. Many people are wondering whether dogs can become carriers of the coronavirus or can dogs become infected by smelling the virus. Some also highlighted the potentially painful effects this practice can have on children.
This whole pandemic has really messed with the mental health of kids, now let’s hit them like drug traffickers… smh https://t.co/AqjZKH4541
— Amanda Grabowski (@Amanda Grabowski) 12 January 2022
The comments here are very strange. What’s wrong w/ you ppl? Dogs have been detecting diseases (cancer, infection, diabetic shock, seizures) for some time. Dogs are fun to work with (and love is rewarded w/ play) and these kids are gushing with joy! why are you all sad? https://t.co/NGvvyFsOot
— jenipher (@JMFTrepanier) 12 January 2022
Germany’s health minister https://t.co/A4BDlzCxYs says dogs can smell the virus in chronic-Covid patients after more than a year
— josh spero (@joshspero) 12 January 2022
Not a fan of K9 units the poor creatures are subjected to cruelty plus they had a plan to train dogs to smell covid at airports which is bizarre! Also dogs can be infected with the virus. https://t.co/9Nb6h95v4Ahttps://t.co/3c7owk2Gm1https://t.co/kqYpgT6jaH
— Rithvik Ramdas (Gen Thade) (@rithvikramadas) 9 January 2022
Dogs are indeed man’s best friend. https://t.co/BezCldPFRP
— manish (@mbhatia007) 12 January 2022
You’ve all heard of the Duke and Hantah dogs in Massachusetts that can smell the covid wow.
— OJ (@Oliver3j) 16 January 2022
Interesting new tools to help detect COVID-19. Students are going to love this new approach too! https://t.co/oGQjFSbFus
— Eddie Nathan, MA, LCSW, CST (@edynathan1) 17 January 2022
Several studies have shown that dogs are accurate in detecting COVID-19. According to a report in Forbes, a double-blind study conducted by Florida International University with four dogs shows that there is a 97.5 percent accuracy in finding Kovid-19 by smelling surfaces and people.
These results echoed those of another study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which found that dogs have an 82 percent to 94 percent success rate in detecting COVID-19. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved dogs as a diagnostic tool when it comes to testing for COVID-19.