Dogs Could be Part of Hawaii's Reopening Plans

Dogs Could be Part of Hawaii’s Reopening Plans

One sniff might speed up reopening. And we may have our canine friends to thank. You have seen these dogs around Honolulu International Airport for years. They sniff out illegal produce and contraband that could hurt Hawaii’s fragile environment. But could there be another hugely beneficial use in our new world?

Dogs have excellent noses, and by the way, so do equines. Dogs have noses that are magnitudes more sensitive than humans’. In addition to sniffing out food, drugs, and weapons, dogs can, and already are being trained to sniff out C0vid. If fact, just this week they have been dispatched at an airport for just that use.

C0vid Sniffing Dogs with results in one minute.

Already, specially trained dogs at Dubai airport are being utilized to sniff out the virus. See the video below. This all started on August 1. But can and will these be deployed in Hawaii, which has already used sniffing police service dogs for the past decade?

Dogs are being trained to detect smells that emanate from those who have the virus, called volatile organic compounds, rather than the virus itself. This isn’t the first time dogs have been trained to detect diseases, which to date have included TB, diabetes, cancers, and malaria.

At Dubai, tests are self-administered with travelers swabbing their underarms. “Samples are taken in collaboration with partners from Dubai Health Authority; results are out in less than one minute.” — Major Salah Al Mazrooei, Dubai Police. There is no interaction between the traveler and the dogs.

Canine training program at the University of Pennsylvania’s veterinary school.

A new pilot program was started recently to enable dogs to detect C0vid. There is much interest in this including from multiple states. We only hope that Hawaii is one of them, since we have heard nothing from Hawaii officials about this.

A representative from PENN said, “With up to 300 million smell receptors – compared to six million in humans – dogs are uniquely positioned to aid in disease detection.” They added that this study “sets the stage for dogs to be a force multiplier in the mission to detect COVID-19, particularly among asymptomatic patients, or hospital or business environments where testing is most challenging.” Preliminary screening of live humans by these trained dogs is set to begin shortly.

The PENN communications director, Martin Hackett, announced they “have been receiving a sizable amount of preliminary interest from organizations, entities, municipalities, states, other countries—all expressing interest in employing COVID canine scent detection.”

We have learned that the Pennsylvania study is working with the possibility of having dogs sniff the passengers directly rather than indirectly as is done in Dubai. How dogs can be protected from infection at this point isn’t clear.

Accuracy remains another issue, although one study in Germany indicated a very high level of accuracy, perhaps as much as 92-95%. The use of other testing in conjunction with dogs, will certainly remain indicated.

In Dubai, negative PCR tests are required for arriving passengers and the dogs serve as an adjunct for any cases that could still slip through following pre-travel testing. Sounds like a near-perfect potential match for Hawaii’s travel dilemma. Your comments indicate lack of testing is one of the reasons you will be postponing Hawaii vacations. With the ability to get standard tests being so inconsistent and often elusive, this seems to have the potential to be a boon for Hawaii tourism.

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39 thoughts on “Dogs Could be Part of Hawaii’s Reopening Plans”

  1. Sounds like a good solution. I would not mind this. I have one question. If a person takes a test 72 hours before travel, goes into quarantine waiting for test results to come back the the results are positive, then what. Are they sent back, do they remain in quarantine until a negative test and if so for how long?

  2. This idea doesn’t pass the ‘sniff test’. A vaccine combined with herd immunity, will be the only reliable way to insure Covid negative travel. 90% suspected cases are asymptomatic, and you can carry low levels of the virus for 3-14 days without symptoms, leading to false negatives. I think people are grasping at straws now, as economic desperation grows. Hawaii has chosen a path of isolation, without a plan to rejoin the rest of the world. Covid-19 is not going away for the foreseeable future, and either you accept the risk of public health spread, or just wait for the local population to spread it to each other completely.

  3. So, if passenger 12A test positive, will passenger 12B testing negative be required to quarantine…. so on and so forth! The testing needs to be done BEFORE boarding the aircraft! I think the Mainland needs to get their act together and defeat this virus before travel is allowed to the beautiful Hawaiian islands 🌺

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