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Thailand’s first batch of coronavirus-sniffing pooches have been trained and are ready to help detect those stricken with COVID-19.

Six Labrador retrievers have spent the past two months sniffing cans filled with socks and cotton soaked with sweat from COVID-19 patients and are now ready to take up posts at airports, seaports, land crossings or tourist spots.

“Dogs are 50 times better than humans in distinguishing smells, and these Labrador retrievers have long noses with a great, fast sense of smell,” said Kaywalee Chatdarong, a veterinary sciences professor at Chulalongkorn University. “Plus, they are friendly and easily trained.”

Travelers could soon find these labs sniffing out whether they are with COVID. Photo: Veterinary Science Faculty at Chulalongkorn University
Travelers could soon find these labs sniffing out whether they are with COVID. Photo: Veterinary Science Faculty at Chulalongkorn University

She said the dogs, which can identify asymptomatic carriers with a 94.8% accuracy rate, will notify their handlers that someone is infected by simply sitting.

This is the first pack of dogs trained for medical purposes in Thailand, Kaywelee said, adding that future plans include training dogs to detect other diseases such as diabetes, depression, malaria and Alzheimer’s.

Can dogs really sniff dementia? Yes, dear skeptic, they have been proven able to smell cancer and Parkinson’s disease as well. Thanks, dogs!

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This article, COVID-sniffing Thai dogs ready to smell out the virus, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.


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