Mexico trains sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19

Scientific studies show dogs can immediately detect patients infected with COVID-19

Mexico trains sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19
The works will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 - Photo: Taken from Sonora's Health Ministry's Facebook account
English 22/08/2020 10:50 Mexico City Amalia Escobar Actualizada 10:50

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Sonora’s Health Ministry, along with foreign and national researchers and experts in canine training, is training nine sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19.

The local Health minister Enrique Clausen Iberri said that the dogs will work at different hospitals and Anticipa Centers of the Mexican state.

Governor Claudia Pavlovich said health is a priority at the state and thus the government is promoting several strategies to fight COVID-19.

The dogs are taught to detect the virus through their smell and saliva from patients who tested positive to COVID-19 for there is scientific evidence that shows dogs can immediately detect the virus, even before PCR tests, which have to be processed.

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Dogs have been a very useful tool to detect certain diseases thanks to their great sense of smell that is able to identify and differentiate unique odors produced by the body when being infected with the virus.” She asserted.

Clausen Iberri said that this initiative looks to prevent the second wave of COVID-19 infections expected at a global level in Winter and that this action is already being implemented in other parts of the world, such as the Dubai International Airport and Helsinki.

“The research team for this project is comprised not only of national and Sonora researchers but also of international researchers. We have experts from the United Kingdom who are former students of the University of Durham and researchers from King College London who are working with us,” he said.

Experts from the University of Sonora are working hand in hand with Doctor Anna Hiel,-Bjorkman from Finland’s University of Helsinki, professor Steve Lindsay from the University of Durham in the UK, and Dominique Grandjean from France’s National School of Veterinary of Alfort.

*Preparan en Sonora a caninos para detección de Covid-19* • Salud Sonora y Unison participan junto a investigadores y...

Publicado por Secretaría de Salud Sonora en Viernes, 21 de agosto de 2020

He added that technology, such as thermal cameras, has been used during pandemics to detect possible cases, however, studies have shown these measures only detect half of those infected, which makes it necessary to have a safer alternative to detect suspected cases.

The nine dogs in training are one Golden retriever, one labrador, four German shepherds, and three Belgian shepherds; three of them belong to the government and six to the private sector and they will all serve at health units.

“Thanks to them, we will be able to prevent more contagions and detect cases before they present complications thus preventing human losses,” he said.

As of August 21, Sonora had registered 26,458 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,511 deaths; 21,457 patients have recovered from the new disease in that state.