The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the world’s economy, and as we enter a new normal where economic activities, including travel, resume, safety is imperative. 

The University of Namibia’s School of Veterinary Medicine (SoVM) will assist with the country’s economic recovery by deploying COVID-19 detection dogs at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek.  These dogs can also be used at schools, habours, factories, sporting events and other large gatherings. 


Dogs have 300 million smell receptors in their noses, while humans have about 5 million – sense of smell hundreds of times more powerful than that of humans.

Medical detection dogs are already trained to spot the scent of malaria, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.  Research has shown that dogs can detect the odour of malaria infection with a level of accuracy “above the World Health Organisation standards for a diagnostic”. 

Tests conducted with trained German Shepherds at the l’École Nationale Vétérinaire in Maisons-Alfort, France show a 95 % success rate in detecting the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.


The team has begun training five dogs for this first-of-its-kind project, including one experienced German Shepherd, two adult and two puppy Beagles.

The dogs could prove to be a fast and effective way of detecting infected people (who may be asymptomatic or not yet have developed symptoms), allowing authorities to isolate them before they spread the virus more widely in the community.

Early detection using dogs will also ensure that precious testing and quarantine resources are only used when strictly necessary. 

From a tourism perspective, which (pre-COVID-19) contributed 15 % to the country’s GDP, these medical detection dogs would not only provide international travelers with confidence that it is safe to enter Namibia, but importantly, also reassure Namibians that an additional screening measure is in place to protect them.


Bravecto® SA has the privilege of sponsoring the dogs and puppies in this programme with regular Bravecto® tick and flea treatments, Nobivac® vaccines and Quantel® dewormer to ensure the pups don’t waste a minute of precious training time with pesty distractions.

We look forward to seeing the Covid-19 Detection Dogs in action at Hosea Kotaku International Airport and hope a similar programme will be introduced in South Africa soon.