For months there has been talk of dogs potentially being able to detect coronavirus. Well, this testing is finally becoming a reality at one global hub.
Dubai Airport’s coronavirus-sniffing dogs
Dubai Airport has become among the first in the world to introduce coronavirus-sniffing dogs. How exactly does this process work with these specially trained dogs?
- Select arriving passengers are having swabs of their scent taken by the Dubai Health Authority
- Once swabs are taken, dogs are placed in an isolated room, where they’ll sniff multiple samples
- If they sniff traces of coronavirus they’ll sit down
- Dogs have apparently been able to identify those with coronavirus with 92% accuracy
- The results are available within minutes, since there’s no special labs that the samples have to be sent off to
Here’s a video outlining the process (and how cute are those dogs?!):
What are the implications of this?
Dubai Airport is now requiring all passengers traveling through the airport to get tested prior to travel, and those entering Dubai from a high-risk area will also have to get tested again upon arrival.
As a result, the dogs are just intended as an extra layer of protection, and don’t replace testing, as Dubai has among the most stringent testing requirements of any airport in the world.
I do still have one major question, though — what are the implications if a dog decides someone does have coronavirus? 92% accuracy is good when you consider this is just a quick test, but that’s far from conclusive.
If a dog detects traces of coronavirus, are those people then given a PCR test and asked to self-quarantine until results come back, or does the process differ?
Dogs at Dubai Airport are now sniffing swabs taken from passengers, to determine if their scent contains any traces of coronavirus. The test results come back within minutes, and are apparently 92% accurate.
In general I’m supportive of this. This is a reasonably accurate, very quick test that can be performed on passengers. Even though Dubai already has strict testing requirements, this is an added layer of protection.
I do still wonder what this ultimately means for travelers, though. What happens if the dog determines you have coronavirus, especially when you consider that they’ll get it wrong nearly one out of every ten times?