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US News In Russia, "jackal dogs" learn to detect the Covid

10:50  10 october  2020
10:50  10 october  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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So how do you train a dog to detect COVID -19? It’s not easy. “There are many, many steps,” Otto says. “Our first step is to ask the question: Is there a unique odor associated with “They learn to discriminate that there’s something unique about the samples from the COVID -19 patients,” Otto says.

Isabelle MacNeil interviews a researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who is training dogs to detect COVID -19. Dogs could be the

Un chien-chacal entraîné à détecter le coronavirus au centre de dressage de la compagnie aérienne russe Aeroflot, le 9 octobre 2020 à Moscou © Dimitar DILKOFF A jackal dog trained to detect the coronavirus at the training center of the Russian airline Aeroflot, October 9, 2020 in Moscow

Near Moscow, "jackal dogs", a breed created by a scientist in Soviet times, are training to detect Covid-19 patients at airports, as the epidemic rebounds strongly in Russia.

Des © Dimitar DILKOFF "Jackal dogs" trained to detect the coronavirus at the training center of the airline Aeroflort, October 9, 2020 near Moscow

In the laboratory of the dog training center of Khimki, north-west of the capital, a little gray dog ​​sniffs a dozen jars with urine samples.

Then the animal points to them and receives a small piece of meat as a reward.

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"In principle, we're sure that dogs could detect Covid -19," she said. 'Fast and effective'. LSHTM head of disease control Prof James Logan said research showed dogs could detect the odour of malaria infection with a level of accuracy "above the World Health Organisation standards for a

To learn to recognize the virus, dogs exercise with urine because "it is the purest substance, without foreign odors of cosmetics or perfume", explains Elena Bataïeva, director of the dog training center of Russian airline Aeroflot.

Un chien-chacal entraîné à détecter le coronavirus lors d'un exercice à l'aéroport Sheremetyevo, le 9 octobre 2020 à Moscou © Dimitar DILKOFF A jackal dog trained to detect the coronavirus during an exercise at Sheremetyevo airport, October 9, 2020 in Moscow

According to the official, the virus itself does not smell but l urine of patients smells differently. However, there is no risk of contamination for humans or dogs during these exercises.

"Dog handlers do not work with the virus. The urine does not contain any. This has been verified and confirmed" by Russian researchers from the Vektor center in Siberia, which is developing one of the Russian anti-covid vaccines, emphasizes Ms. Bataïeva, during a press presentation on Friday.

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Dogs can learn to sniff out various diseases. (Courtesy - Medical Detection Dogs ). Now, it is possible that canines may be able to smell the coronavirus that causes COVID -19. Founder Dina Zaphiris uses samples that dogs sniff to detect the early stages of the disease, including lung and

Scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia are training dogs to detect Covid -19. Researchers from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the university are training sniffer dogs , including English springer spaniel Floki, to identify Covid -19 in people.

Des © Dimitar DILKOFF "Jackal dogs" trained to detect the coronavirus at the training center of the airline Aeroflort, October 9, 2020 near Moscow

Aeroflot general manager Vitali Saveliev recently told him that these dogs could also detect coronavirus patients by sniffing an airplane passenger's mask or a sample of his saliva.

Un © Dimitar DILKOFF A "jackal dog" trained to detect the coronavirus at the training center of the airline Aeroflot, October 9, 2020 near Moscow

This project aimed at strengthening health security in airports comes at a time when the Russia has broken its record for daily coronavirus infections.

Friday, 12,126 new cases were identified, a toll exceeding the peak of May, when the country observed a strict containment which is however not on the agenda at present.

Since the start of the epidemic, the country has officially recorded 1,272,238 cases, including 22,257 fatalities, and remains fourth in the world in terms of the number of infections.

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For ten days now, the number of Covid -19 cases in Russia has been on the rise. Meanwhile, the WHO’s representative in Russia has also downplayed talk of a second lockdown. Melita Vuinovich opined that, “such measures are a means to slow down the transmission of the virus and buy time, if

The dogs are already trained to detect odours of certain cancers, malaria and Parkinson's disease by the charity Medical Detection Dogs . The trial will explore whether the " Covid dogs " - made up of Labradors and cocker spaniels - can spot the virus in humans from odour samples before symptoms

- A recreated breed -

The Aeroflot dog training center has a total of 69 "chalaïka", a breed obtained during the USSR by crossing between dogs and jackals, but which was not officially registered in Russia until 'two years ago.

These dogs with a particularly sensitive sense of smell have been patrolling Moscow airports in recent years to detect explosives.

On a small lot surrounded by a metal enclosure with barbed wire, a red-haired dog, Iara, turns anxiously around a car and very quickly spots a metal box imitating the smell of explosives, hidden under the vehicle.

"These dogs learn quickly and are able to pick up an odor at a distance of 1.5 meters," says Ms. Bataïeva.

Originally, the "chalaïkas" were designed in 1977 by the biologist Klim Soulimov.

"It was at a time in the USSR when the problem of drug trafficking appeared. The dogs usually used by the police (laïkas - editor's note) found it difficult to work in the hot climates" of the Soviet republics of Central Asia, says Ms. Bataïeva.

The scientist Soulimov then decided to cross the laika - which traditionally guards the reindeer in the north of the country - with the jackal, living in the southern regions.

After the fall of the USSR, the Chalaïkas population was practically lost, but Aeroflot dog handlers decided to revive the breed, by crossing dogs again with a jackal.

The jackal "father" who gave life to several generations of "chalaïka" still lives in the Khimki training center.

The first results of this experiment to detect the virus should be known in early December.

vvl / rco / ahe

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