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Indian Army’s specialist dog squad to detect COVID-19 cases

The Indian army is instructing dogs to determine COVID-19 in its ranks by smelling human sweat and urine, a senior officer said on Tuesday. Breeds such as cocker spaniels and labradors are being trained to identify the virus from the cells of infected people at a department in New Delhi.

Many countries are considering practicing dogs to distinguish the coronavirus at airports and other public spaces. But the military deployment is the first time in India that dogs are being employed to detect COVID-19, said Colonel Surender Saini, an army dog trainer.“Based on the data from the samples which we have tested till now, we can infer the ability to detect the disease is more than 95% among sniffer dogs,” Saini told.

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At least eight dogs were being taught to be stationed at a transit camp in northern India, from where troops advance to high-security boundary regions. Dogs would let more agile detection of the disease and decrease the requirement for tests in isolated areas. India has reported the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, but daily numbers have declined since hitting a top in September last year.

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