Dogs trained to detect Covid infections are being used to screen passengers just off the plane in Helsinki, Finland – and the results so far are promising.
Passengers landing at the Helsinki airport can choose to be tested through specially trained dogs. A tissue with their sweat is placed in a container among others, and a dog is taken to sniff them; if the dog signals the presence of coronavirus in the recipient the tissue is in, the passenger receives a free swab test to confirm or disprove the result. As a whole, the voluntary screening takes less than a minute.
Susanna Paavilaine, Executive Director of Wise Nose – Finland Smell Detection Association, said, “The sniffing stations got started when the City of Vantaa wanted detection dogs to the airport.
“The dogs won’t yet have official status, do they aren’t allowed to sniff people head-on. We need to build the stations, where people come to give a sample and the dogs check it from the other side.”
You can see the sniffer dogs in action in the video below.
The dogs were trained as part of a research project at Helsinki University to find out whether dogs can detect an infected person based on their smell alone, the way they can detect cancer.
The data collected thanks to their work at the airport will be vital in determining how reliable sniffer dogs are in detecting Covid infections. Either way, we can say for certain that these good boys and girls are doing their best!