Sniffer dogs now also used to detect Covid-19 similar to RT PCR tests?
The news background-
The crux of human life lies in exploring and experiencing new things never known before. If it had not been for this fact, we humans would not have had feet but roots that kept us intact and immovable at one place. Immensely powerful that a human mind can be, we never fail to surprise each other with the new level of intelligence we showcase. Adding to the amazement, the recent study has it that our super wise canine friends have the capacity to sniff the covid-19 virus fittingly well. And, much to our surprise again, they can do it faster than the traditional laboratory method of testing the virus.
About last year
Last year, while the entire nation underwent a crisis with mass Covid-19 testing and reporting, the Indian Army was first in the country to sniff-train and use its dogs to detect the virus. A two year old cocker spaniel named Casper and a year old Chippiparai – known to be a South Indian breed, were trained to detect the virus by sniffing sweat and urine.
There have been multiple analysis and study done across the globe by various research and medicine centres towards understanding whether canines can be a trusted arrangement with the task of investigating the virus accurately. It has been found that they can be 88 per cent precise in snuffling the deadly virus.
Olfactory capability of dogs-
It is a wonder that such small and lovable creatures have such a glorious value creating quality. Did we ever imagine they would have close to three-hundred million olfactory receptors i.e their capacity to smell and we humans just have about six millions?
This when studied carefully, simply means that they can smell close to forty times louder and clearer than us. Similar studies on this subject also prove that the new kind or strange scents are appealing to them and they love to explore those. Scientists claim that against every single smell receptor that people may have, a dog has 50. No wonder they can smell things so perfect within a 20 kilometre range or 40 feet underground.
Olfactory advantages to humans
Dogs are commonly pronounced as ‘best friends’ to humans. Not just a humble & loving companionship, there is so much more to what they provide us with. Their amity is not limited to our homes but they also serve the prestigious and respect-worthy army, police, security and more in various capacities.
The canine members, respected for their staunch smelling potential have been assisting the armed and police forces as sniffer doggos in multiple rescue operations, identifying explosives, detecting narcotics and a lot many challenging tasks. These canines, in many English-speaking countries are termed as K-9 or K9 group and mostly involve breeds such as German shepherd, Labrador retriever and the likes. Obliquely they serve the entire of humanity. Besides, they are also known to be one of the most dependable biosensors for identifying the odour of human ailment.
Shouldering another responsibility
Further to all that we owe to the K-9 group, it’s time we put some additional trust in them. With all the colossal transformations we have witnessed in the society in the last few years due to covid-19, the canines take up a trailblazing attitude yet again. A recent study declared the Dog screening PCR test identification, with the urine and sweat samples, to be 91% accurate when compared with the reports of the ordinary swab testing method done on a few individuals. The infected human urine, sweat or saliva are known to release a certain kind of chemical that makes it easy for the canines to report the infection accurately. The good part is that the first method i.e dog sniffing took a few seconds whereas the latter takes about 15-20 minutes to identify the results.
In one of the instances, two dogs were able to successfully sniff the virus in close to 300 people in just half hour. Rounded off, these cute furry companions are now being looked up as a suitable process of mass screening of the virus at overladen places. According to a report from Bloomberg, they can be trusted with this critical procedure since they could identify the infection that resulted from different variants of viruses or even while the people were asymptomatic.
Training for the Virus alert
Many of us are inquisitive as to how these furry babies are trained to detect something as grave as a COVID-19 infection? Well, at one site this training took a several weeks where they were made acquainted with the smell of positive and negative samples. Later, the samples kept on different stands were made accessible to the dogs wherein they were rewarded on indicating the positive samples and ignoring the negative ones. On identifying with the positive samples these dogs would sit pointing their nose towards the particular stand and aptly ignoring the samples that were negative.
A world-wide trail?
Talking about different nations, most are positively looking at opting for this faster screening methodology. All the successful researches made have inspired many countries like Switzerland, Dubai and Finland to start training the K-9 team to detect the infection by sniffing. However, there are countries like the UK that are yet to declare determining dogs as a screening tool in a real-world scenario.
The fundamental quest is whether they would be suited to take up the complete charge. Well, who knows? While we also understand the fact that the Virus that causes Covid-19 can unsparingly spread on to animals too. Pets, including cats and dogs, worldwide, have been infected with the virus in the past.
According to a trusted scholar and professor, dogs will not replace the ordinary testing method. They may be used as a ‘rapid mass screening’ tool, cutting down on the number of PCR tests required to be carried out in a super-dynamic environment. This will surely, in a way, impact the current covid situation.
Canines do retire!
When we are confronted with these special dog officers at the airport or with different national forces, we often wonder what happens to them later. They are exposed to a lot of threat. Some are hazardous to their living.
Well, like humans, these doggies retire too and once they do, they are handed over to the non-profit groups or even kept safely at the retirement homes within the organisation itself. Recently the Indo-Tibetan border police took to a novel initiative by designating their retired dog-officers as therapy dogs for their personnel undergoing medical treatment.
We do not intend to encourage any decision making towards the end of animals being used for any virus screening or, pose any threat for dogs in any case. This write up is for information purpose and based on general information gathered from various internet sources.
Source – Indianexpress.com(Disclaimer: The information contained on this blog is just for informational purposes only. Though, it’s not guaranteed to be precise and perfect and we believe that every pet is unique in its own way and requires different attention)
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