UK, Germany and now Chile is training dogs to sniff out coronavirus

A police officer and trainer works with a dog sniffing a box with a sample at Carabineros de Chile Dog Training School in the Parque Metropolitano | Bloomberg

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New Delhi: The Chilean Police is training sniffer dogs to detect the presence of the novel coronavirus in people’s sweat, reported Reuters Saturday. The move comes as Chile looks to reopen schools and colleges and workplaces.

As of 1 August, Chile has reported 3,55,667 Covid-19 cases and 9,457 deaths and is the eighth-worst affected country in the pandemic.

The UK and Germany have also conducted studies that show canines are able to sniff out the presence of coronavirus in people.

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In Chile’s Santiago, a group of four Labradors and Golden Retrievers are being trained at a special camp. Sporting bio-detector jackets, these dogs will be deployed at busy places including schools, bus stops and airports.

“(Dogs) could detect people at an early stage of the disease to be able to isolate them and perform the appropriate PCR test, avoiding mass contagions,” said Lieutenant Colonel Cristian Acevedo Yanez, director of the police specialty training school, to Reuters. He added that with more than 50 times the olfactory responses of humans, dogs could play a critical role in detecting the virus.

Over in the UK, a government-funded trial is underway, with scientists from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Durham University training six dogs to distinguish positive samples from negative ones.

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