Dogs Lend a Paw at MIA to Sniff Out COVID-19

NBC Universal, Inc.

Dogs that can detect COVID-19 are now being used at Miami International Airport as part of a pilot program. 

Some employees have to go through a checkpoint before heading to work. As of now, it's just limited to some American Airlines employees who pass through two airport checkpoints as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Four dogs were trained.

NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz spoke to Florida International University’s Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth Furton about FIU’s task force to train Covid-detecting dogs.

“When you get COVID, you produce compounds and that’s what the dog detects,” said Dr. Kenneth G. Furton, Florida International University provost and professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Researchers at FIU trained the dogs to detect COVID-19 by using face masks from COVID patients. 

Cobra – one of the dogs trained to detect the virus – sits after she smells the virus. If the dog sits, then you must take a PCR test.

“The dogs have 97% accuracy, which is the same as a PCR test,” said Ralph Cutie, MIA interim director.

Miami International Airport is the first airport in the nation to have the dogs. 

“In this particular airport we’re doing it with employees, but now people will see the dogs and they know it’s another weapon to fight this pandemic,” said Raquel Regalado, Miami-Dade County commissioner.

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