‘As It Happens’ Consults OVC Veterinary Infectious Disease Expert

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Prof. Scott Weese

Dr. Scott Weese, a veterinary internal medicine specialist in the Department of Pathobiology, spoke to CBC Radio’s As It Happens to discuss a plan from the Miami Heat basketball team to use sniffer dogs to detect those fans who are infected with COVID-19

Weese, the director of U of G’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, told the radio show  he’s skeptical the dogs will be either effective or accurate.

According to a news release from the Heat, the dogs will walk past each fan upon arrival and if a dog sits down, they are indicating they have detected the virus. The ticketholder and their party will then be asked to leave the arena.

Weese said while there have been some clinical studies showing that dogs can detect a smell emitted by  those infected with COVID-19 , those tests have only been done in lab settings, not in a busy, real-world setting like a basketball arena where people are moving past fairly quickly.

Weese is chief of infection control at the OVC Health Sciences Centre and was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) in 2020. This month, he received the 2021 Award of Merit from the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).

Listen to Weese’s interview. (interview begins at the 36:40 mark)