Africa

Namibia to train, deploy coronavirus detection dogs

Beagles are social dogs with a natural curiosity and high intelligence. Peter Kirillov

The University of Namibia, School of Veterinary Medicine has embarked on a pilot project to train and deploy COVID-19 detection dogs.

Under the project supported by the country’s health ministry, dogs are being trained to detect COVID-19 at airports, schools, harbours and sporting events.

Others are large gatherings, Conrad Brain, a veterinary surgeon at the school, said in a statement.

“The dogs have learned to identify the molecular level of the samples,” he said.

“We are using Beagles as the preferred breed for now, because they come across as less intimidating to the public.”

“In the future, we want to start training dogs from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Namibia.

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“The radius for the smell of all dogs is approximately 1.5 meters. Therefore, all breeds should be able to do this,” Brain said.

He said dog trainers and handlers have so far successfully trained four Beagles.

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