Cambodia succeeds in training dogs to sniff out Covid-19, says top official

CMAC officers training the dogs to sniff out Covid-19 infected people.- Phnom Penh Post/ANN

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 2 (Phnom Penh Post-ANN/Xinhua): Three Cambodian dogs had been successfully trained to sniff out Covid-19, Director General of the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) Heng Ratana said on Monday.

The dogs had been trained with scent samples, known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), of 48 Covid-19 patients from the technical team of the University of Health Sciences, and all of the samples had been examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and cell culture techniques to ensure safety, he said.

"CMAC and the University of Health Sciences have worked together for research and development of Covid-19 detection dogs, and in this initial stage, we're glad to inform that three CMAC's detection dogs are able to detect VOC of 48 Covid-19 patients and another seven dogs are making remarkable progress," Ratana wrote on his Facebook page.

The trained dogs could sniff and detect scent samples within 10 to 15 seconds only, he said, adding that the use of Covid-19 detection dogs is effective for large crowds such as airports, international border checkpoints, stadiums and so on.

The training of Covid-19 detection dogs has been held following an initiative made by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, he said, adding that the dogs were trained by local trainers at the CMAC Training Center in Kampong Chhnang province.

According to experts, there is no official evidence to prove that Covid-19 can transmit from humans to dogs, Ratana said.

According to Ratana, the use of dogs to sniff for infected people is applied in some countries such as Germany, Finland, Australia and Russia.

In February, Prime Minister Hun Sen authorised the ministry and CMAC to conduct a dog research and development programme to help identify people infected with Covid-19.

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