Schools in Massachusetts are using specially trained dogs to detect COVID-19.
Scientists who developed the detection programme at the Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute, say the dogs are 99 percent accurate in detecting the virus, and two police dogs have been trained by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office to detect COVID-19.
Huntah and Duke are two 14-month-old labradors who began their training in May 2021 and who now work in schools in the Freetown-Lakeville Regional School District, in the US state of Massachusetts. The Bristol County Sheriff’s Office reportedly worked with Florida International University to train the dogs.
Spokesperson Jonathan Darling said the two dogs had been trained similarly to how narcotic dogs are trained. The dogs’ trainers took a mask which had been worn by a person who tested positive for the coronavirus and after using UV light to kill the virus, the mask was then cut up into pieces and put in a bag to help the scent imprint on the dogs.
One photograph shared by the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was captioned: “K9 Huntah had a blast with kids at the LG Nourse Elementary School in Norton today.”
While another image was captioned: “K9s Huntah and Duke visited Norton Middle School today for some Covid-detection work.”
Dogs have 30 million smell receptors compared to 5 or 6 million in humans. This allows them to detect tiny odour concentrations that humans cannot sense.