NASCAR Dogs Can Sniff Out COVID-19 With up to 98% Accuracy
Sniffer dogs have been used to detect drugs, weapons, as well as dead bodies. Recently, NASCAR has recruited trained dogs to sniff out COVID-19 in human sweat.
Race officials had hired two teams of dogs from 360 K9 Group to monitor infected guests and personnel during the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway scheduled on Sunday.
According to a New York Post report, some studies claimed that well-trained sniffer dogs have the ability to detect individuals with COVID-19 by simply smelling their sweat samples at reported rates of 94 to 98 percent.
If proven effective, the sniffer dogs could be helpful to public health officials, who could put the skilled canines in high-traffic hubs such as train terminals, airports, and public events.
In this trial program, NASCAR said the dogs would have to check and sniff everyone who would enter the Atlanta track to determine if they have COVID-19.
If they smell the virus in their 30 seconds of screening, the sniffer dogs will alert their handler, and the individual infected with COVID-19 will have to undergo secondary screening from the doctors of the American Medical Response Safety Team, The Hill reported.
NASCAR noted that it is the latest development in an evolving process that could present an efficient, highly accurate, and cost-effective supplement to the existing procedures intended to limit the disease's spread.
"We think that these dogs and this capability is going to allow us to rapidly confirm that all of those people entering the essential footprint on Sunday - that's race teams, that's NASCAR officials, that's the vendors that work inside the garage - all those folks are COVID-free or not," NASCAR's managing director of racing operations, Tom Bryant, said in a statement.
Bryant added that "the ability to do that has kind of been the math problem" that they have continuously tried to solve since March last year.
Sniffer Dogs in Latin America
Latin America's police sniffer dogs are also being trained to detect COVID-19, like in El Salvador, where police are using artificial aromas the same as the sweat of a person with COVID-19.
Wilber Alarcon, a canine handler from the Central American nation's anti-narcotics police, said it is not easy as the COVID-19 strain seems to be changing a lot.
Alarcon said known coronavirus variants had been synthesized, and pseudo-aromas have been extracted to train the canines, AFP News reported.
He added that once the sniffer dog detects and marks the infected person, there will be a strict biosafety protocol to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus.
Researchers said canines are known to have up to 300 million olfactory receptors that give them their superior sense of smell that is far from humans. Dogs could reportedly detect the coronavirus even in asymptomatic patients.
Similar programs are being carried out in Mexico, as well as in Chile, where the Police Canine Training School has been deployed in the capital Santiago.
In January, NBA's Miami Heat allowed a limited number of fans to attend games with the help of sniffer dogs that could detect COVID-19, according to an ABC 7 report.
Matthew Jafarian, the executive vice president of business strategy for the Miami Heat, said the sniffer dogs are amazing as their noses are way more powerful than humans.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not signed off on this method of screening.
WATCH: Sniffer Dogs Trained to Detect Coronavirus in Less Than a Second - From BBC
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