Sniffer dogs trained in Thailand to detect COVID-19 in human sweat proved nearly 95% accurate during training, and could be deployed to identify infected persons at busy transport hubs within seconds, Reuters reports citing the head of a pilot project.
Six Labrador Retrievers participated in a six-month project that included being tasked to sniff an infected patient’s sweat on a spinning wheel of six canned vessels.
“The dogs take only one to two seconds to detect the virus,” Reuters quotes Professor Kaywalee Chatdarong, the leader of the project at the veterinary faculty of Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University, told Reuters.
“Within a minute, they will manage to go through 60 samples.”
Chatdarong noted that the dogs can detect a volatile organic compound secreted in the sweat of COVID-19 sufferers, even in the absence of disease symptoms.
The researcher noted that the dogs, if deployed at busy transport terminals in future, could prove to be faster than temperature checks.
“The next step is we will put them out in the field,” said Kaywalee.
“In the future, when we send them to airports or ports, where there is an influx of commuters, they will be much faster and more precise in detecting the virus than temperature checks.”
Other countries that have also launched efforts to get sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 include China, Finland and India.
(With input from agencies)