UAE Police sniffer dogs
Police sniffer dogs are now being used to detect suspected cases of COVID-19 Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior on Wednesday announced the launch of a special mobile unit of K9 police dogs to detect COVID-19 cases across the country.

The K9 police dogs, which have been trained to detect coronavirus cases, will be deployed at major events.

The move follows the successful experiments carried out by the ministry, which relies on the high- speed sampling from the armpits of suspected cases.

The process will be carried out without direct contact between the dogs and presumed cases. The special unit supports the efforts of frontline healthcare staff in the fight against the pandemic, the ministry added.

The UAE has been using sniffer dogs at multiple entry points to detect cases of COVID-19 among travellers. Earlier, the ministry said the K9 police dogs have been deployed in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah airports, and at the Ghuwaifat border point.

A study conducted last year showed a high accuracy rate of trained dogs in COVID-19 detection. From a sample of 1,000 participants at COVID-19 screening centres, the study showed a 98 per cent correlation between the PCR test results and the detections by the dogs.