A new breed of Cannes chienne has arrived at the film festival this year, joining the various pampered pooches that are paraded up and down the Croisette and the occasional canine red carpet star (RIP Uggie).
The dogs in question are in town on more serious business, however, as the latest coronavirus-preventative measure being trialled by the French government. Using their remarkable olfactory senses, they can smell if a person has the virus, with their success rate higher than some nasal swabs or saliva tests.
Cannes mayor David Lisnard held a small presentation outside the festival’s testing center yesterday, at which he revealed that the animals will soon be deployed across the town as part of its continued efforts to battle the pandemic.
According to France Bleu, the dogs Mystik (female) and Strike (male), which are understood to be short-haired alsatians, have been trained by firefighters in nearby Marseille, and are part of a trial that could eventually see their usage rolled out to events across the country.
Lisnard did not confirm whether they will be used further during the festival.
Using dogs to detect Covid-19 is being trialed all over the world. According to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Covid has a distinctive odour and trained pooches can detect cases with 94.3% sensitivity and up to 92% specificity.
They are also rapid testers, able to process up to 300 people in 30 minutes. Their usage is being considered for large events, such as Cannes, and plane flights.