Thailand’s Social Development and Human Security Minister has announced the use of Labrador retrievers to sniff out Covid-19 in human sweat in the greater Bangkok Metropolitan Area.
Minister Juti Krairiksh said the sniffer-dog project at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Veterinary Science now has a team has trained six Labrador retrievers to sniff out Covid-19 in human sweat.
Dr Kewali Chatdarong, Chula’s deputy dean for research and innovation, said the project utilized the dogs’ sense of smell – which is 50 times greater than that of humans – to detect infection in humans. The project was conducted by placing cotton wool and socks into cans for Labrador retrievers to sniff.
The dogs were successfully trained to sit when they detected Covid-19 in sweat on the fabric. The Labradors were found to have an accuracy of 95 percent in detecting asymptomatic patients. The Labrador retrievers will be used to complement normal screening operations.
Juti said at least two ministry volunteers will be sent to each of Bangkok’s 50 districts, where they will train others to conduct Labrador retrievers sniffer-dog screening operations. The dogs will offer an alternative, speedy method to testing for Covid-19, especially when it comes to screening bedridden patients.