WATCH: This Good Dog Can Detect COVID-19 With 99% Accuracy
Who’s a good dog? Cobra is. She’s been working at Miami National Airport, where she and her colleagues may be able to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Almost as soon as the pandemic became public knowledge, researchers began work to determine if dogs could sniff out the virus. Sure enough, now Cobra and others are starting work at the airport in Miami, where they’re currently being used to check staff. When one of the dogs alerts that they’ve detected COVID-19, the staff member takes a rapid test — and the dogs are getting it right more than 99% of the time.
Watch this CNN clip introducing Cobra and her work.
Meet Cobra – one of the Covid sniffing dogs part of a pilot program at Miami Airport deployed to detect the virus in employees.
Dr. Kenneth Furton says “Cobra has shown to be over 99% accurate in her training.” pic.twitter.com/Cqj1J0HdzT
— Brianna Keilar (@brikeilarcnn) September 13, 2021
The Washington Post reports that dogs have long been used to sniff out conditions from Parkinson’s to cancer, and to detect changed in blood sugar in diabetics.
In fact, Cobra’s previous job was also in disease detection — although not in humans.
She was trained to detect the scent of laurel wilt, a disease that kills avocado trees, and rapid ohia death, a fungal disease devastating a native tree considered sacred in Hawaii…
The Miami Herald reports that the test consists of removing a face mask and dangling it for the dog to sniff, and the dog will signal by sitting if the smell indicates the virus is present.
If the trial run of using COVID-19-sniffers for airline employees goes well, then Cobra and crew can expect to move to a busy section of the airport in a few weeks, where travelers will be allowed to opt-out of these new disease-detecting dog-scans if they prefer.
Despite the freedom to opt-out, planners hope that simply having the dogs present will deter some travelers from lying about their COVID-19 status.