By Alex Glenn • 13 June 2021 • 14:27
COVID-Sniffing Dogs Are Accurate But There Could Be Problems Credit: Pixabay
COVID-Sniffing Dogs Are Accurate But There Could Be Problems.
COVID-Sniffing dogs are accurate but there could be problems with their widespread use.
According to studies the use of dogs for sniffing out COVID 19 infections is an excellent idea and is accurate, although there could be problems with using them on a larger scale. Some countries are already using COVID sniffing dogs in airports and their use at mass events is also being considered or is already in use in some countries.
In the United States COVID sniffing dogs are used at basketball games to sniff out possible infections in those attending the events.
There could be problems with the use of dogs to detect COVID though, as health experts and experts in training dogs to recognise scents, feel that more information is needed along with further planning to ensure their accuracy when used in real-life.
According to Cynthia M. Otto, who is the director of the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, “There are no national standards”.
For dogs that are used to detect drugs or even bombs, there are private groups set up to certify them, this applies to rescue dogs too. The problem is that sniffer dogs for medical issues, do not have any national standards to meet.
Lois Privor-Dumm from Johns Hopkins University believes that there is potential in using sniffer dogs for medical issues. She wants to see how they could be used on a large scale, for example by governments.
She has raised multiple questions though including: “What are all the ethical considerations? What are the regulatory considerations? How practical is this?”
There are far more logistical considerations for sniffer dogs for medical conditions than for those used for drug detection. This is because infections need to be detected in a person’s sweat or urine, and this scent can vary between people for many reasons.
It is also necessary that the dogs are trained on similar medical conditions in order to ensure that false positives do not occur. Someone with flu would not want to be pulled up as having COVID.
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Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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