What are Covid19 Tracker Sniffer Dogs?

The use of tech as a way of curbing the spread of covid-19 has proven to be very invasive to people’s privacy even if it’s producing good results. These covid-19 tracking solutions are being tested and they involve advanced facial recognition, surveillance, contact tracing apps, and also state censorship. Most users feel uneasy because of these methods and as such, countries are trying to use privacy-friendly and less invasive methods. One of such is the use of covid19 tracker sniffer dogs.

The covid19 tracker sniffer dogs are used because of their generosity when it comes to detecting smell as they can pick up a wide variety of smells that are imperceptible by humans. And so countries are relying on this and testing if dogs can sniff out people with covid-19 at public places like the airport. Research to prove this premise is being conducted by experts from Medical Detection Dogs, and Durham University.

What Covid19 Tracker Sniffer Dogs Aims to Solve?

The covid19 tracker sniffer dogs would be very beneficial as the dogs are fast learners and can do more within a short time. So the screening process of covid-19 cases would be a quick one. This will facilitate the reopening of public places and points of entry into countries and cities thanks to the efficient and rapid screening rates as provided by the sniffer dogs. And it’s non-invasive even at that.

The use of sniffer dogs is by no means a replacement to routine covid-19 tests, no. But it’s a way to help the government detect and control the spread of the virus, especially with a large population. There are already sniffer dogs that work with the police for drugs and bomb detection. So it’s all about reprogramming their minds to the possible smell of the coronavirus for rapid detection.

How The Study of Covid19 Tracker Sniffer Dogs Would Work?

The covid19 tracker sniffer dogs have been used as far as the first world war and are still being relied on today to help control the spread of covid-19. Human noses are lined with only 5 million olfactory receptors whereas those of dogs are lined with about 200 million olfactory receptors. This huge gap is what researchers are relying on in their use of covid19 tracker sniffer dogs.

In carrying out the study, the odor of the disease would first have to be isolated. It is hoped that the resulting smell after a culture of infected cells and a mixture of volatile compounds that the cells release in the air would be different from that of healthy cells. Once this is established, it would be easy to distinguish an infected person from a healthy person using sniffer dogs.

The sniff test is already being carried out in some airports such as the Helsinki Airport. According to The Guardian, passengers use wipes to dab their sweat which is then sniffed by a sniffer dog. A positive case would be indicated by the dogs yelping, pawing, or lying down. This is of course not a conclusive test but helps in accurate follow-up as the passenger would be advised to do the proper test for certainty.

The use of covid19 tracker sniffer dogs at the Helsinki Airport has shown 100% accuracy so far even with persons who are not symptomatic of covid-19. The entire idea was a result of the French study that found evidence of the difference between the sweat of covid-19 positive and covid-19 negative people.

Covid-19 Tracking Dependence On Sniffer Dogs

The use of covid19 tracker sniffer dogs would make it more efficient to detect covid-19 positive patients. The rate of detection would be higher as the dogs are easy to train and fast learners. It would also be efficient as the number of individuals tested would be high and this can help in rapid checks around areas of high population density.

The use of dogs would also be far more accurate than the use of thermometers to blow the whistle on suspected cases. This means better resource management and more accurate results.

The Use of Covid19 Sniffer Dogs for Surveillance

Sniffer dogs are mostly used to search for bombs, drugs, and other forms of contraband at airports and other places of entry. They are also used wherever law enforcement agencies deem fit and so far they have been accurate.

As with every other means of search, the use of dogs without a warrant to perform sniff duties has been debated. The use of dogs has also been abused by their owners, as some dogs have been trained to respond to the cues of the owners rather than the cue of smell. This could lead to false-positive and negative results.

Pros of Using Dogs to Test Covid

  • High efficiency as dogs are easy to train
  • Faster operation 
  • Reduced waiting time especially at high-density areas like airports
  • Much more reliable than thermometers
  • The use of dogs would be less invasive on an individual’s privacy

Cons of Using Dogs to Test Covid

  • The risk of false-positive and negative results is high
  • Having the dogs directly sniff people is also considered intrusive to some

Keeping The Virus Away from The Dogs

You may wonder how the dogs can be kept safe from the virus as they go about their sniffing duties. It’s a risk to both the dogs and their handlers as any exposure could lead to infection. Biodesiv invented a technique that uses tubes with a polymer in them to trap and release the volatile compounds produced by the cells. So if the tubes are placed near cells, the gas can be gotten without the handler and dogs having any risk of contamination.

This phase of the project is critical as it will determine the viability of the method and its sensitivity. The dogs must be very sensitive to the smell of the volatile compounds even if the carriers are asymptomatic, and the dogs have to only react to covid-19 and no other smell. Only then can the test be trustworthy enough to be dependable.

Less Invasive Searches with Covid-19 Tracker Sniffer Dogs

It isn’t a crime to have the virus. No! so don’t be worried when you see a dog sniffing you at the airport because a positive sniff test is only for the benefit of others as it will help the authorities keep the spread of the virus in check better.

The methods that are being used now to monitor the spread of the virus can be hacked, or malfunction and leak your information such as location. This privacy loophole won’t exist with the use of dogs as dogs can’t be hacked into or leak your information to hackers.

Even with this level of privacy, having a dog smell can be a bit intrusive for some, and it’s quite normal. But compared with the use of cameras and contact tracing apps amongst others, the use of dogs is far better and ensures your safety and privacy more.


The use of covid-19 tracker sniffer dogs has come up to take care of the problem of privacy breaches that technology exposes the public to. It’s also an effective way to check individuals at the various points of entry for the virus without causing so many delays as the process of using sniffer dogs is rapid and even more accurate than the use of thermometers. So the use of dogs not only gives us better privacy, but it also saves us from stress at checkpoints.

Whether the study is implemented on a larger scale or not, we can’t negate the efficacies of other clinical tests and methods. Hence, if you do develop symptoms while traveling, do get a clinical test done to be sure and quarantine yourself immediately.