Thailand has started deploying a canine virus-detecting squad in hopes of quickly identifying people with COVID-19 as the country faces a surge in cases, with clusters at construction sites, crowded slum communities and large markets. Angel, Bobby and Bravo are among six Labrador retrievers that have been trained by researchers at the veterinary faculty of Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University to sniff out a unique odour that people with Covid-19 produce in their sweat, the researchers say. Now dogs join coronavirus fight in Thailand.
Dogs identity coronavirus infections in Thailand
Since May 10, the three have tested more than 1,000 samples from college staff, students and people outside the University. The results so far are impressive. After few seconds of sniffing sweat samples placed in metal containers, the dogs can tell which people have Covid-19 infections. If there is no trace of infection, the dog will walk pass the sample. If it is positive, it will sit in front of it. Interesting fact is that, countries such as Finland, UAE, Germany and India have already been using dogs identity coronavirus infections.
Dogs will work inside a mobile unit
The researchers plan to send canine team out to communities suspected of being new Covid-19 hotspots. The dogs will work inside a mobile unit, while the collecting team can comb through the community collecting samples.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, dogs are among a small number of pets that can become infected with the coronavirus, mostly after close contact with people with Covid-19. It says the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is considered low.
The Thai researchers said that as a safety precaution, they designed the sample containers so that the dogs’ noses do not contact the samples. They also believe the receptors on cells in dogs’ respiratory tracts are not a welcoming environment for the coronavirus to attack.