A K9 dog
A K9 dog on its assigned task Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior has started using K9 police dogs to detect COVID-19, a statement from the ministry said on Wednesday.

The ministry carried out experiments in the UAE and relied on the high speed sampling from the armpits of presumed cases.

The collected samples are then sniffed out by the dogs without coming in contact with the persons, while results become known on the spot.

K9 squad
The K9 squad is employed in the detection of various diseases Image Credit: Supplied

According to the Ministry of Interior’s data and studies, the detection of presumed COVID-19 cases achieved approximately 92 per cent in overall accuracy.

The ministry said that it has successfully completed trials on K9 police dogs in enhancing its preventive and precautionary measures and efforts aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.

The new move comes after successful completion of practical experiments and scientific studies and will contribute to promoting the community’s safety and security.

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

It is recorded that the UAE has completed the stage of field experimentation with precedence over a number of countries that are still in advanced stages of studying the extent of the applicability of this innovative scientific practice, the ministry said.

Field experiments

Field experiments included a number of vital and health sites in cooperation with the UAE police general commanders, the Ministry of Health and Community Development, Federal Customs Authority, Departments of Customs in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Dubai health authorities and the Ministry of Interior.

K9 training
K9 dogs can quickly detect infected cases, help protect key sites, effectively deal with huge crowds and secure large events and airports. Image Credit: Supplied

Experiments were conducted at field hospitals on volunteers in a number of areas in the UAE after taking the necessary precautionary measures to protect both K9 police dogs and their trainers.

The experiments were based on two methods - a direct method that involves the dog’s routine detection work, and an indirect method carried out when the dog sniffs out a sample odour of the presumed case.

Figures indicate that dogs can quickly detect infected cases, help protect key sites, effectively deal with huge crowds and secure large events and airports.

The Ministry of Interior and its partners decided to use dogs given their previous proven capability in dealing with other contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria, thus helping authorities to stop the spread of the pandemic.

The ministry also held a number of brainstorming workshops and cooperated with several countries and world experts on theoretical studies and discussions on using dogs in detecting presumed COVID-19 cases.

The ministry said the trained detection dogs are known for their extraordinary capabilities and skills, especially their strong sense of smell. For this reason, they are used in police patrols and securing malls, events, airports and other vital facilities.