Canine mobile unit helps detect Covid-19 in Thailand

Bangkok, Jun 17 (EFE).- A mobile unit made up of six dogs has helped inspect some 2,000 samples to detect Covid-19 in Thailand after being trained for months to help in the fight against the pandemic.

The six Labrador retrievers, trained by researchers at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, are capable of detecting asymptomatic or symptomatic Covid-19 patients through their smell with an accuracy of up to 95 percent, the educational center said in a statement.

The unit, currently in Bangkok, began to be used in March to detect infections in the offices of American company Chevron Thailand, which has collaborated in the project, and in the Department of Disease Control in Songkhla, in the south of the country.

These trained animals are capable of inspecting between 600 and 1,000 samples per day, which they can sniff in a special device that prevents them from being infected.

In positive cases, the people to whom the sample belongs are subjected to a PCR test to confirm the result.

With the closure of its borders and other measures, Thailand remained little affected by the pandemic but the latest wave that began in March has skyrocketed cases to more than 207,000 accumulated infections, including more than 1,500 deaths.

For now, the vaccination drive against Covid-19 is slow, with only about 4.76 million people having received at least one dose in a country of 69 million inhabitants.

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, who apologized for the delay in vaccinations in recent days, pledged Wednesday that almost 50 percent of the country’s 69 million inhabitants will have received at least one dose in the next four months.

In addition, he said he will eliminate the mandatory and monitored quarantine of 14 days for vaccinated travelers in 120 days, by October. EFE


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