Passengers arriving at Kigali International Airport in Rwanda can now be tested for COVID-19 without inserting swabs into their nose or throat to collect lab samples and wait for minutes to receive results.
Instead, the airport is using trained sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19 by smelling sweat samples taken from passengers with just cotton patches. The collected samples are then taken to the sniffing cabin set up in a separate area.
With an accuracy close to that of a PCR test in about one minute, a dog quickly detects which of the samples in the cabins has COVID-19.
This initiative was launched on Friday June 4, at Kigali International Airport as a three-month pilot with five dogs acquired from Police Dogs Centre Holland B.V, which supplies working dogs and related services to police, customs and security companies all over the world.
Rwanda says sniffer dogs will reduce the time and cost of testing at the Kigali International Airport. The Rwanda Biomedical Center says it has plan to scale up the use of sniffer dogs at mass gatherings based on the outcomes of this pilot phase, a partnership between Rwanda and Germany.
Germany supplied the Detection Dog Training System from Kynoscience, a German firm that also trained the dog handlers from the Canine Brigade of the Rwanda National Police.
In July 2020, researchers from Germany trained army sniffer dogs to distinguish between samples of fluids from patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and healthy donors.
The dog expert, Hans Ebbers, who is also CEO of Kynoscience, says there is no special breed but certain dogs are more talented