Dubai opened to tourists in July in 2020 and currently requires visitors to provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test taken within 96 hours of travel. Dubai officials have also begun taking sweat samples from visitors upon arrival to put under the noses of specially trained dogs.
Dogs have about 300 million olfactory receptions, giving them a sense of smell estimated to be up to 100,000 times more sensitive than humans — a trait that has made them especially popular recruits for bomb and drug sniffing. Their strong sense of smell also means they can detect diseases such as cancer.
The Dubai airport is the first real-world example where dogs are being used to sniff out COVID-19. The dogs also do their work from afar, never coming into direct contact with potentially infected or fearful humans. Samples are taken from travelers’ armpits and placed in steel containers designed to allow a dog’s snout to fit inside without disturbing the sample.
Test results, which are said to have a 92 percent accuracy rate, are returned in less than a minute.