Since November 2020, Casper and Jaya have been deployed in Chandigarh and Delhi to screen samples and detect COVID-19 among soldiers posted to forward areas of the Northern Command. The two are 'specialist' military dogs, Casper, a two-year-old male Cocker Spaniel, and Jaya, a one-year-old female Chippiparai. They are the first two canines trained to detect COVID-19 cases from sweat and urine samples. "From the trials and operational deployment, it has been inferred that COVID-19 volatile metabolic biomarkers are within the threshold limit of olfactory detection capability of trained dogs and can help in quick and real time detection of disease," said Lt. Col. Surender Saini, instructor at the Army's Remount Veterinary Corps (RVC), Meerut. They can detect COVID-19 with 95% accuracy, he said. "They are not medically accepted. They are used to screen large numbers," Lt. Col. Saini said. Such mass screening reduces the number of Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests needed for COVID detection, he explained.Samples identified as positive by the dogs are confirmed through the RT-PCR test. Eight more military dogs are now being trained, and they will be equipped by March. These include two Chippiparais, two Cocker Spaniels and four Labradors. From among the… Read full this story
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