Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science today, March 16th, has announced Thailand’s first successful pack of Covid-19 sniffing dogs, proving nearly 95 percent accurate in identifying asymptomatic patients.
The pack of six trained pooches was confirmed to be able to detect asymptomatic Covid-19 patients who cannot be detected via primarily health screening methods, according to Chulalongkorn University officials.
Prof. Dr. Kaywalee Chatdarong, a head researcher from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, said: “Dogs’ sense of smell is many, many times better than humans, so we thought of using this potential of the animal by starting training six Labrador Retrievers as a part of the experiment since they have long snouts, a good sense of smell, smart, and are friendly.”
The specialist also added that the successful experiment has proved 94.8 percent accurate in detecting asymptomatic patients, similar to other countries that have used dogs to sniff out virus carriers such as in Finland, Germany, France, and Australia.
According to the research team, the six-month experiment started off by collecting sweat samples of infected people from cotton and socks. The samples would be kept in a laboratory in a ball of cotton wool and socks for the pack of dogs to smell. When the dog smelled and could detect the Covid-19 infection, they were trained to immediately sit down, telling the medical staff that the person was infectious.
The next phase is to let the training dogs have a hands-on experiment at Thailand’s airports, seaports, and popular tourist destinations and let them sniff to detect any potential Covid-19 infections from individual human feet, Kaywalee added.
“This project is Thailand’s first successful medical training model utilizing dogs. In the future, we will hopefully train dogs to detect patients with other diseases, such as diabetes, depression, malaria, and Alzheimer’s,” she concluded.
The dogs may soon be used on a regular basis to detect potential asymptomatic Covid-19 at the countries borders. Those who test positive would then be quarantined and isolated (at their expense) while awaiting more intense testing. Thailand requires all asymptomatic patients to isolate and quarantine under the presence of medical staff and does not allow home isolation.
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