Iran has literally gone to the dogs in the fight against the novel coronavirus: In the capital Tehran, four-legged friends are trained to sniff out Covid-19 sufferers. A dog could sniff out up to 300 people per hour with its fine nose, according to a participant in the project. Unfortunately, the success rate is still limited.
Iran was one of the first countries after China to be hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic – it is still in the sad top ten of those countries with the most confirmed Covid-19 infections.
First, infection of SARS-Cov-2 was tested on dogs
“Dogs are 20,000 times more capable of detecting odors than humans. They have already been trained to sniff out other diseases like malaria'”, project spokesperson Hamidreza Shiri told the Iranian news agency ‘IRNA’. “In the first phase of the research, we proved that the dogs are not infected with the corona virus,” Shiri explained. “Several tests at different stages show that neither they nor the trainers were infected with the virus.”
Success rate is 65.4 percent
“Since we do not know which breed has the best talent for sniffing, we are training various breeds, including Labrador, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd and Border Collie,” said the project spokesman. “Samples of the virus were taken from various hospitals and sent to us, but we didn’t know ourselves which were positive or negative,” dog trainer Esmaeil Skandari explained the procedure. “The dogs were able to detect the positive and negative samples in about 65.4 percent of cases,” said the trainer.