Dogs to sniff out Covid-19 in Bangkok

Update: Thailand’s sniffer dogs from Chulalongkorn University will now be searching for new Covid-19 cases in suspected areas around the city via a mobile unit, according to Prachachat.

During the patrol, the pack of canines will remain in the air-conditioned vehicle, while the samples will be collected by a team. The aim is for the doggos to sniff and diagnose up to 1,000 cases a day.

covid19-sniffing-dogsImage credit: Prachachat

Most Covid-19 tests can take up to two days for the results to come out, and the shortage of testing kits and beds in some areas have caused many hospitals in Thailand to hit pause on their Covid-19 testing services.

Earlier in April, Chulalongkorn University announced its success in training dogs to detect people infected with Covid-19 via scent. Today, the canine pack is ready to embark on their mission as sniffers – their first stop being in Min Buri District.

Here’s how it works.

Recent Covid-19 updates:

Four-legged Covid-19 detectors on the roll

Using the doggos to sniff Covid-19 cases would speed up the Kingdom’s search for Covid-19 cases, and hopefully pre-empt more cluster cases.

According to the reports, the dogs have a 94.8% accuracy rate on detecting people with Covid-19. They’ve been sniffing sterilised cans containing cotton pads and socks filled with the participants’ sweat. If the person’s infected with the virus, the dog sits down.

Covid-19 testing
Image credit: Matichon

On 19th May 2021, Social Development and Human Security Volunteer (SDHSV) collaborated with Chulalongkorn Veterinary Science (CUVET) to start using the trained sniffer dogs during Covid-19 proactive testing in a residential area in Ramkhamhaeng, Min Buri District.

dog sniffing
The dogs can also detect those who are asymptomatic Covid-19 cases.
Image credit: Matichon

The total number of participants was 200, which comprised of both residents as well as bed-bound patients in the community. Samples of the participants have been collected by the SDHSV to take to the dogs to sniff out for Covid-19 as per Matichon.

sniffer dogs
Image credit: Matichon

The duty dogs currently consist of Labrador Retrievers with six canine officers in total under the names Angel, Apolo, Bravo, Bobby, Naza, and Tiger.

K9 against Covid-19 

With the sniffers dogs on the roll, they’ll not only be assisting with the search for Covid-19 infected cases, they’ll be lighting up smiles on people’s faces as well.

Nevertheless, we are optimistic of the dogs’ contributions to improving the Covid-19 situation.

Cover image adapted from (L-R): MatichonPrachachat

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