In Germany, super-sniffer dogs are detecting whether concertgoers have coronavirus

17 September 2021, 13:04 | Updated: 25 October 2022, 17:21

In Germany, super-sniffer dogs are detecting whether concertgoers have coronavirus
In Germany, super-sniffer dogs are detecting whether concertgoers have coronavirus. Picture: Getty / Alamy

By Sian Moore

The four-legged friends are being trialled as a coronavirus-detecting method in concerts in Hanover, and it’s certainly got tails wagging.

Concertgoers in Germany will be sniffed by trained dogs to detect whether or not they have coronavirus.

The trial, which is part of a ‘Back to Culture’ project in the city of Hanover, will test the effectiveness of the infection-detection dogs across four shows.

How will it work? 500 attendees at the city’s open-air concert this Sunday (19 September) will be given cotton pads to collect sweat samples before the show begins, which several dogs will use to sniff for infections.

Everyone who attends will still have to provide a negative test beforehand, however.

Last summer, the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hannover (TiHo) published a study which found Bundeswehr army canines were able to correctly identify 90 percent of the 5,000 different individuals tested.

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The four-legged testers have been conditioned to smell the ‘corona odour’, a scent that comes from cells in infected people, explained Esther Schalke, a vet at Germany’s armed forces school for service dogs.

Holger Volk, head of the veterinary clinic, gave further insight into how it works.

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“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,” he said.

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

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The Ministry of Science has funded the exciting initiative with €1.3 million (£1.1 million).

Three more concerts will follow Sunday’s show, culminating in a performance that will hold 1,500 spectators – all without distancing or wearing a mask, Hamburg broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk reports.

Thanks to our furry friends, live music might be able to raise the woof once more...