Rwanda on Friday launched a three-month pilot program to test for COVID-19 using sniffer dogs.
Rwanda’s Biomedical Centre stated that five trained dogs are currently being used to detect COVID-19 from samples taken from passengers at the Kigali International Airport.
“The program is a partnership between Rwanda and Germany, which has supplied the Detection Dog Training System, and trained the dog handlers from the Canine Brigade of the Rwanda National Police.” The centre stated.
Passengers arriving at the airport will not be in contact with the sniffer dogs, but will be asked for consent to participate in the pilot and receive sample cotton patches.
The collected samples will then be taken to the sniffing cabin set up in a separate area.
“Trained sniffer dogs can detect COVID-19 with an accuracy close to that of a PCR test in about a minute.” The statement read.
Adding that, the use of the sniffer dogs aims to reduce the time and cost of testing at the airport and later mass gatherings.
Rwanda will scale up the project based on the outcomes of the current pilot phase.