“By the end of this year we will have twelve teams, of dog and handler, operational,” says Captain Lange, commander of the Interpowers Kynological Unit (IKE). Minister of Defense Philippe Goffin paid a visit to the unit in Oud-Heverlee on Friday.
Some of the dogs covered by the IKE are specialized in detecting explosives, so-called EDD dogs. It is also those dogs that will be trained to detect SARS-CoV-2. The dogs can detect smells up to 50 times better than humans, and are trained to identify 20-25 explosives, and SARS-CoV-2 is an additional scent to teach the dogs, says Captain Lange.
The units with EDD dogs are spread all over the country: Burcht in Antwerp and Kleine Brogel in Limburg, and at three bases in Wallonia.
In addition to Germany, studies are also underway in the United States and France into the use of dogs to detect the corona virus. Defense also suggested the possibility of collaborating with the universities of Ghent and Liège, where research is also ongoing.