Pawsome! Huskies Sampo and Kalev go on training to sniff-out Covid-19 victims
Two Polish huskies will be sent to Helsinki for a pilot training programme teaching them how to use their noses to detect Covid-19.
The dogs, owned by a Lapland village in Borowice in the Polish mountains, were signed up for the pioneering scheme by their owners.
Upon completing their training, Sampo and Kalev will be the first Polish dogs to be used in the fight against coronavirus.
The University of Helsinki and organization Wise Nose Finland recently carried out successful tests which concluded that dog’s noses are excellent at detecting people with Covid-19, achieving a 94% success rate.
Dogs are already being used to identify people with Covid-19 in Finland and Great Britain.
The training programme was tested at Helsinki airport where passengers were asked to wipe their necks with a tissue and put it into a jar for a minute.
Michał Makowski, owner of Sampo and Kalev, said: “The dogs could recognize the jar with a tissue from someone infected with Covid-19… we sweat differently when we are infected.
“Whilst Finns are currently only using their own dogs, there is a chance for Polish dogs to be accepted onto the training programme next year.
“If they are admitted, Sampo and Kalev will undertake 120 days of training and will have to participate in tests lasting 2-3 hours a day.”
The Siberian huskies already have a good track record of helping others. They already support mountain rescue teams and the fire brigade and have been helping to deliver food and medicines to elderly people during the lockdown.
Dogs have over 200 million scent receptors, 40 times more than people and specially trained dogs are already using their sense of smell to detect certain types of cancer.
Animal behavior therapist Aneta Awtoniuk told Dzien Dobry TVN: “Dogs have an excellent track record in detecting cancer samples.
Alongside cancer, it has been discovered that dogs can also detect people infected with coronavirus who emit certain air-borne substances which dogs are able to detect.
“They can detect a person who smells different because of biochemical changes in their body caused by disease. On this basis, it is possible to catch people who are ill with malaria and diabetes.”
Dogs also remember scents they have been taught, which makes them useful in detecting drugs and they are already used in many airports in Poland as well as being specialists in finding people buried under rubble.
It is hoped that the training programme will open the way for dogs to be used in Poland to help uncover cases of coronavirus.