Chile wants Covid-19 sniffer dogs to help reopen public spaces

Chilean police officers and trainers work with dogs called Keylin and Clifford at Carabineros de Chile Dog Training School in the Parque Metropolitano in Santiago, Chile on July 17.

Santiago, Chile (CNN)Police dogs in Chile are being trained to sniff out Covid-19 in humans, with hopes that they will facilitate the reopening of busy public spaces including malls, sports centers, bus terminals and airports this fall.

The so-called "bio-detector" dogs are expected to complete training by mid-September and will be deployed to places with high concentrations of people, according to the Chilean police.
Chile has slowly beaten back the virus since its peak in June, and on Sunday announced a five-stage "step by step" reopening plan toward economic recovery.
    For now, its dog-sniffer program is small, with just four pups in training. Chile's National Police and the Catholic University of Chile (Pontificia Universidad Catolica) are collaborating to train three Golden Retrievers and one Labrador to detect "a new odor" -- the smell of Covid-19 patients, according to university professor and veterinary epidemiologist, Fernando Mardones.
      There is currently no evidence that dogs can sniff out the coronavirus, or discriminate between a coronavirus infection and any other kind of infection -- especially before symptoms begin to show up.
        In past studies, researchers have given dogs samples taken from people with diseases such as cancer or malaria, along with samples from people who don't have the diseases, and demonstrated that the dogs can tell the difference.
        The coronavirus does not have a smell per se, Mardones said, but researchers hope that something in sufferers' sweat may be recognizable to dogs.
          "A body that contracts Covid-19 generates volatile