Defence

Indian Army using dogs to detect COVID-19

The Indian Army is using its dogs for quick detection of COVID-19 to cut down time delays.

These dogs are known for their pronounced sense of smell and have earlier helped in explosive and narcotics detection, search and rescue operations.

Two dogs two-year-old cocker spaniel Casper and one-year-old Jaya, a chippiparai, which is an indigenous breed from Tamil Nadu have been trained to detect COVID-19 by sniffing samples of sweat and urine. Besides these two dogs, eight other dogs, including four labradors, are also undergoing training.

A demonstration of their skills using real samples was held on the premises of the 48 Military Veterinary Hospital at Delhi Cantonment. Their handlers were also wearing full PPE kits.

Countries like the UK, Finland, France, Russia, Germany, Lebanon, the UAE and the US have already trained dogs for detection of COVID-19. This is the first time dogs are being used in India to detect a virus.

Army dogs were successfully trained on specific biomarkers emanating from urine and sweat samples of positive patients. These samples do not contain living virus, but only volatile metabolic biomarkers, which the dogs have been trained to detect.

Their response time after detection is one second or even less, and accuracy rate is over 90 per cent. The dogs have been trained to sit next to a sample kept in a container if it is positive for the disease and move forward after sniffing if it is negative.

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