Service dogs in the German army are to
receive training to sniff out coronavirus infections, as the
country's official caseload ticked up to 196,554 as of early Monday.
The military said it is working together with the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hanover in the hopes of teaching 10 dogs - Alsations, spaniels and retrievers - to smell the virus. The animals belong to the Bundeswehr's only dog training site, based in the rural western region of Vulkaneifel.
"With a current success rate of around 80 per cent, the researchers ... are well on the way to successfully continuing the project," the dog training school said in a statement, adding that the first reliable results of the study should be available in the coming weeks. Dogs are used to search for explosives or drugs, but have also proved themselves to be useful allies in combatting disease. They can be trained to detect various cancers and low blood sugar levels in people who are diabetic.
Despite some isolated outbreaks, Germany has largely brought its coronavirus epidemic under control. The daily rise in infections stood at 219 on Monday, according to the Robert Koch Institute for disease control.
Among those who have tested positive for the virus, some 182,200 people are estimated to have recovered, while 9,016 people have died, the government agency said. The death toll had increased by four on the previous day.
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