UAE police dogs sniff out coronavirus cases in trials

Dogs were able to identify presence of virus with 92% accuracy

Police dogs used to identify the coronavirus from samples taken from passengers at Dubai International Airport. Wam
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Police sniffer dogs correctly detected the coronavirus in 92 per cent of cases in a trial, the UAE Ministry of Interior said.

The ministry said it had successfully completed the trial, aimed at enhancing precautionary measures during the pandemic.

"Data and studies showed that detection of presumed Covid-19 cases achieved approximately 92 per cent in overall accuracy," it said.

In the experiments, samples were taken from the armpits of suspected coronavirus cases.

"Samples are then sniffed out by the dogs without coming in contact with the people, while results become known on the spot," the ministry said.

"K9 police dogs are also used traditionally in securing and monitoring events and sensitive facilities."

The ministry said the UAE had gone further than many other countries in studying the usefulness of dogs to detect virus cases and respond to them.

Experiments were conducted at several field hospitals after precautions were taken to protect the police dogs and their trainers.

"Figures indicate that dogs can quickly detect infected cases, help to protect key sites, effectively deal with huge crowds and secure large events, airports, et cetera," the ministry said.

It and its partners decided to use dogs given their proven ability to deal with other contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria.

"Trained detection dogs are known for their extraordinary capabilities and skills that outdo other dogs, especially their strong sense of smell," the ministry said.

"For this reason, they can be used in police patrols and securing malls, events, airports and other vital facilities."

The ministry conducted the trials in co-operation with the UAE police general command, the Ministry of Health, the Federal Customs Authority, and Abu Dhabi and Dubai Customs and health authorities.

The ministry also held workshops and co-operated with several countries and world experts on theoretical studies and discussions on using dogs to detect Covid-19 cases.