The Carabineros Dog Training School and the Catholic University of Chile have chosen four dogs, Coffe, Cliffor, Cailin and Dakar, to be trained to detect people infected by coronavirus only with their sense of smell. The people in charge of the project assure that the dogs could detect the disease in 250 people per hour only with the sense of smell.
The project started operating a little over a month ago with these two Labradors and two Golden Retrievers. “We began to investigate throughout the planet what other initiatives we could take as Carabineros to contribute to the security and containment of this pandemic,” explained Lt. Col. Cristián Acevedo, deputy academic director of the Carabineros School of Specialties.
The first phase goes through the selection and processing of permits before the ethics committee. Subsequently, samples will be taken from patients at the Marcoleta and La Pintana sites, belonging to the UC Christus Health Network, which will consist of taking traces of axillary sweat from infected people who preferably should not have underlying diseases.
“It is important, at this stage of the concept, to safeguard for maximum security. Sweat is an element where we should not find viral particles and therefore it is a sample that would not infect people and animals,” explained the professor. of the School of Veterinary Medicine of the Fernando Mardones Catholic University.
Then, they will be trained to detect the aroma associated with the disease and passively dial, that is, sitting next to whoever is positive.
“The ability of these dogs makes us even think that the dog can detect the person without them knowing. That is, it is a more advanced tool (…) The dog what it does many times is detect the disease in stages early, “he added.
If selected by the dog, the person will be isolated and transferred to a healthcare center where a PCR test will be performed to confirm the result. In addition, the guide and his dog would be removed, who will also be examined to rule out contagion.
Experts anticipate that in mid-September they may have a staff that can go out to work. “Because it is a complicated date for the country … many of the measures are probably being relaxed. It is going to generate an important conglomeration of people,” said the professor, referring to the celebration of the Chilean national holiday.
The use of dogs to detect viral or chronic diseases has been successfully applied in other countries. Therefore, it is not ruled out that in addition to tracking coronaviruses, these animals are trained for the early detection of other pathologies.