Sniffer dogs detecting Covid-19 may be deployed in Australian airports

Malaysia Airlines landing at Sydney Airport.
Photo by Troy Mortier on Unsplash

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Sniffer dogs are being trained to operate in Australian airports. The dogs may be capable of detecting coronavirus before a positive reading shows up in the tests, the Australian press has reported.

The dogs have been taught to recognise a specific odour in sweat samples with the Australian authorities aiming to have them deployed alongside the required PCR testing for international passengers from early next year.

An Adelaide University researcher, Susan Hazel, explained that the training has been carried out and the next step is to deploy the dogs in airports with incoming international passenger.

“The benefit will be, once we can prove that it is working, that they could be used without the other testing, they could be used for initial screening,” she said.

Dr Hazel noted that while results would require verification, the dogs had indicated a positive case after an initial swab test showed a negative result.

International examples in the field also show the dogs could be effective in detecting the virus in pre-symptomatic cases.

The project is a collaboration between Adelaide University, Australian Border Force, Biosecurity, emergency services and international partners.

International teams are trying to isolate the scent the dogs are recognising.