CAPE TOWN, March 18 (ANA) - Researchers in Thailand have successfully trained six sniffer Labrador retrievers as part of a six-month pilot project to identify the coronavirus in just two seconds.
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), researchers from Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University led by Professor Kaywalee Chatdarong said coronavirus patients emitted a distinct scent through their perspiration which allowed the sniffer dogs to detect the virus.
“The dogs are different from the usual temperature-screening methods in that they can detect those who may have the virus but are asymptomatic, with no fever,” Chatdarong told CNA on Wednesday.
“The dogs will be able to detect these people. Their accuracy rate of detecting patients is 94.8%,” she said.
She added that the team is looking to send the sniffer dogs to spaces with large groups of people such as airports, and that the dogs need not sniff people directly but could screen samples of sweat.
The researchers believe the sniffer dogs would be a more efficient method in these cases than temperature checks.
Thailand is not the first country to adopt the sniffer dog method. Countries such as India and Chile have also reportedly trained dogs to be used at airports.
Meanwhile, Thailand has started its Covid-19 vaccination programme for front-line health workers after Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha received the first AstraZeneca jab on Tuesday.
Prayuth, along with his cabinet, were vaccinated from the 117,300 imported AstraZeneca vaccine doses received for emergency use.
Thailand will receive 800,000 CoronaVac doses later this month from China.
– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Yaron Blecher