The UAE has become the first country to trial the use of airport sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 on passengers.

In a move that bolsters the country’s continuous efforts to prevent the spread of the virus, the recent experiment used police dogs to detect traces of COVID-19 on inbound visitors, with 92 per cent accuracy reported.

The UAE is considered the first country globally to put this method into action at its airports, with other nations still in the study and training stage, according to news agency WAM.

Protocols adopted during the experiment were unique in that they avoided any direct contact between the dogs and the passengers.

Samples were taken from passenger armpits in collaboration with partners from Dubai Health Authority. These were then taken to police dogs located in an isolated rooms, with results available in less than one minute.

The trial followed research, brainstorming workshops and cooperation with several countries and experts, said WAM.

Police dogs were selected for their strong sense of smell – it is thought they are able to detect traces of COVID-19 from samples of human scent within seconds.

The use of these furry friends is an additional line of defence against Coronavirus, with all travellers entering and departing the UAE subject to strict regulations.

These include PCR-testing on arrival for passengers arriving from select countries and mandatory negative COVID-19 test certificates for all arrivals. Travellers can contact their airline for more details information.

Following the successful sniffer-dog trial, the practice could become commonplace at UAE airports soon. It might also be rolled out at other large facilities such as malls, as well as at events, according to WAM.