German Concert Series Uses Sniffer Dogs as COVID-19 Precaution

The trial, which is part of Lower Saxony's "Back to Culture" initiative, aims to provide another layer of protection for concertgoers

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Sniffer dogs who have been trained to identify the COVID-19 virus will be used to detect infections at a concert series in Hanover.

The project is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science, and the dogs in question have been trained specifically for the task by the Bundeswehr, Germany's combined armed forces.

The dogs' noses are about 40 times as sensitive as human's, and a study found that the dogs could smell a single drop of distinctive liquid even if it was immersed in 50 million liters of water.

At the Hanover concert, each of the 500 attendees will be asked to provide a sweat sample on a cotton pad. The dogs will then inspect all the samples for any traces of COVID-19. However, since this is a trial, concertgoers will also be expected to provide a negative COVID-19 test.

In October 2020, a Finnish study found that dogs could be trained to sniff out COVID-19 in only seven minutes, and for a time, sniffer dogs were employed as a method of COVID detection at Helsinki airport.

“We did a study where we had dogs sniffing samples from COVID-positive patients and we can say that they have a 94 percent probability in our study ... that they can sniff them out,” said Holger Volk, the head of the German veterinary clinic at the armed forces unit where the service dogs are trained.

“So dogs can really sniff out people with infections and without infections, as well as asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID patients,” he added.