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Covid-sniffing dogs ‘detect virus 94% of the time’

Coronavirus detection dogs of the type being deployed in sports and entertainment venues could detect the presence of Covid-19 in people with 94% accuracy, even if they are asymptomatic, a German study has found.

Filou, a three-year-old Belgian shepherd, and Joe Cocker, an ingeniously named cocker spaniel, were trained by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover to sniff out an odour that emanates from the cells of people infected with the virus.

First used to detect infection in passengers in a trial at Dubai airport, sniffer dogs have also been deployed in airports in Helsinki and Santiago, Chile, as well as more recently by the Miami Heat basketball team in Florida.

Covid dogs sniff out virus in Helsinki

Holger Volk, head of the clinic which trained the dogs, said the pair could accurately detect Covid-19 94% of the time in more than 1,000 samples.

“So dogs can really sniff out people with infections and without infections, as well as asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid patients,” says Volk, reports Deutsche Welle.

Stephan Weil, premier of the state of Lower Saxony, welcomed the results of the study and said the next step should be test events in the real world. “We now need tests in selected events,” says Weil.

“Dogs can really sniff out … asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid patients”

Miami Heat’s executive vice-president for business strategy, Matthew Jafarian, says the team, based at the 21,000-capacity AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, ran a smaller trial with the dogs before making the decision to welcome fans back to the arena.

“We looked at traditional diagnostic tests, like rapid antigen and PCR tests. And we thought through operationally how we could administer that to hundreds and thousands of people coming into the building,” he says.

Heat fans who are not comfortable being screened by dogs have the option to take a more traditional testing option, which could take up to 45 minutes, Jafarian adds.

In the UK, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is undertaking a similar study to investigate whether dogs can be trained reliably detect the “unique odours” associated with Covid-19 infection.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Juan Luis Guerra celebrates Miami success

Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning artist Juan Luis Guerra broke his own attendance record on Saturday 5 October at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.

Part of Guerra’s national Literal tour, the show played to a sold-out of arena of more than 13,000 fans, and included special appearances from contemporary Latin stars Juanes and Monsieur Periné.

Remaining stops on the Literal tour include Los Angeles (20 October), Washington DC (25 Oct) and Orlando, Florida (27 Oct).

Dominican Republic-born Juan Luis Guerra has won two Grammy Awards and 21 Latin Grammys, and sold more than 70 million records worldwide.

The Literal tour is promoted by Loud and Live, which launched a JV with leading Latin American promoter Move Concerts earlier this week.


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Latin king Roberto Carlos begins world tour with Miami sell-out

After a five-year US touring hiatus, veteran Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos has sold out the first show of his new world tour, on Saturday at the American Airlines Arena in Miami.

Carlos (pictured), known as the ‘King of Latin music’, has sold more than 12,000 tickets for the 9 March concert, according to promoters Move Concerts and Loud and Live.

The tour will feature music from his first album in Spanish in 25 years, Amor Sin Límite, and also visit other US cities, including Orlando, New York, Boston, Washington DC and Houston, before heading to Argentina and Europe.

Roberto Carlos has sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, and was recently awarded the Premio Excelencia at the prestigious Premios Lo Nuestro Awards.


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FL rep demands axing of Lorde shows amid Israel row

Randy Fine, a state representative in Florida, has demanded venues in Tampa and Miami cancel their upcoming Lorde shows in order to comply with the state’s anti-BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) legislation.

Lorde’s Melodrama world tour is due to visit Amalie Arena (21,500-cap.) on 11 April and American Airlines Arena (20,021-cap.) on 12 April. However, both venues are publicly owned – the former by Hillsborough County and the latter by Miami-Dade County – and, under a law introduced in February 2016, no Florida state or local government is permitted to conduct business exceeding US$1 million with any organisation engaged in a boycott of Israel.

New Zealand singer Lorde in December cancelled a planned show in Tel Aviv under pressure from the anti-Israel BDS movement, which campaigns against what it calls Israeli “oppression” of Palestinian Arabs.

“Florida has no tolerance for antisemitism and boycotts intended to destroy the state of Israel,” says Fine (pictured). “That’s why Florida passed groundbreaking anti-BDS legislation several years ago and why, along with senator Jeff Brandes, I have proposed strengthening that legislation this year. Current statutes are clear: local governments cannot do business with companies that participate in antisemitic boycotts of Israel.

“The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and antisemitism”

“When Lorde joined the boycott in December, she and her companies became subject to that statute.

“The taxpayers of Miami and Tampa should not have to facilitate bigotry and antisemitism, and I look forward to [venue owners] the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority and the Tampa Sports Authority complying with the law and cancelling these concerts.”

Tampa Sports Authority and the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority declined to comment.

Randy Fine is the state representative from Florida’s district 53, centred on Brevard County.


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