Moscow International Airport prepares 15 sniffer puppies to identify passengers with Covid-19 disembarking in the Russian capital. The dogs are of the Shalaika breed, developed in the country especially for this type of service.
In early October, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatiana Golikova said the animals would be ready to start sniffing out those infected in 2021. According to her, other dogs of this breed have already are able to detect explosives or even cancer patients based on smell alone.
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Anna Popova, head of Rospotrebnadzor – an organ equivalent to Anvisa -, told the Gazeta Russa agency that sniffers help reduce the time that those infected with Covid-19 spend on boarding and disembarking planes, which would reduce the risks for those around.
Sniffer dog of the Shalaika breed is trained by the airline Aeroflot to identify passengers with Covid in Russia – Photo: Reproduction / Twitter / Aeroflot
Each training session lasts 30 minutes (see the video at the beginning of the report). After that, the Shalaikas need to rest for an hour. During training, dogs are introduced to a new smell and instructed to sniff by him among samples from healthy donors; when identifying them, they should bark or wag their tail.
“Our main institutes have the necessary biological samples for the preparation of the animals and there is a team of volunteers to train the dogs,” said Golikova. “We are halfway there so far.”
Dog training is organized by the Russian airline Aeroflot and will be completed in December. The canine unit should start operating in January 2021, but how dogs will sniff out passengers in practice, is still uncertain.
“We are currently discussing with our partners how it will work. It may be due to the masks worn by passengers or saliva samples through which the dogs will identify the infected parts, ”said Vitáli Saveliev, president of Aeroflot, to Gazeta Russa.