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Trial of COVID-19 detector dogs begins at Adelaide Airport

English Springer Spaniel Floki takes part in the Covid-19 detection training at the University of Adelaide on September 18, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

Trial of COVID-19 detector dogs begins at Adelaide Airport

Trial of COVID-19 detector dogs begins at Adelaide Airport

Six dogs have commenced research trials at Adelaide Airport to determine the feasibility of training the canines to detect COVID-19.

The six dogs include four from the Australian Border Force, one from the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service, and one from the University of Adelaide.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews says if successful, the detector dogs “could provide an important screening method to safeguard Australia against COVID-19”.

“The concept could see dogs used by a range of agencies across a range of environments such as at airports, stadiums and crowded locations to screen large amounts of people quickly, reducing the chance of the virus spreading at big events,” she said.

The project is part of an international research alliance led out of France. Previous studies have shown dogs can detect odours, known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are produced by the human body’s response to viral infections – even when people are asymptomatic or in the incubation phase.

The phase three trials at Adelaide Airport follow on from trials earlier this year at Sydney International Terminal (15-31 March 2021).

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