According to the current United Arab Emirates policy, all travelers going in the country must undergo COVID-19 testing before their trip. Upon their arrival, they must show the result, confirming that they are negative.
However, in Dubai International Airport, police sniffer dogs have also been put in place. These dogs are there to detect the virus among passengers within minutes. The newest policy comes as the country reported its 61,163 coronavirus cases with 351 deaths.
In a press release, the Ministry of Interior in Dubai said that they had achieved a 92 percent overall accuracy in the detection of presumed COVID-19 cases. With this figure, they can tell that dogs are capable of detecting infected individuals. This helps in protecting key sites, managing huge crowds effectively, and securing large events and locations like airports.
The process starts with the staff taking a sample of the passenger’s body odor from the armpit and placing it in a container inside an isolated room. Then, a specially-trained dog will sniff it through a funnel-like contraption. If the canine detects the virus, the staff will direct the passenger to take the nasal PCR test. During the process, the dogs and the passengers do not have direct contact.
Dogs have long been used in detecting several other diseases, like cancer and malaria, which affect body odor. Last month, Germany started training eight sniffer canines to distinguish those that are infected with SARS-CoV-2 from the healthy ones. The researchers confirmed that these detection dogs had a 94 percent accuracy detection rate.
Esther Schalke, behavioral researcher and Bundeswehr (German army) dog trainer, said that canine odor detection is way better than what the general public thinks of. Aside from the research and training in Germany, another similar trial was launched in the United Kingdom earlier this year. According to reports, the government had allocated a total of £500,000 for the said project.
Credit: Emirates News Agency