Sniffing Dogs Deployed by Helsinki Airport to Beat Covid-19

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Finland’s Helsinki Airport has deployed a group of coronavirus sniffing dogs as an additional step in its fight against coronavirus. During their pilot program last Tuesday, these trained canines were used to sniff out travelers who may be infected by the deadly virus. The travelers who participated on the program were asked to swab their skin with a wipe that is placed in a jar and given to the dog to sniff. Reports show that it only took 10 seconds to reveal if the sample is Covid-19 positive. The passengers will then undergo the standard testing to determine whether the dog’s finding is accurate.

Fox News: Unlike lab tests, the dogs can even detect the virus before an infected person displays symptoms

Screenshot from Fox News

Fox News reports that according to Finavia, trained dogs can smell the coronavirus from 100 molecules or less — far less than the 19 million molecules used in PCR tests,. And research from the University of Helsinki has indicated dogs may have close to 100% accuracy in detecting the virus.

Unlike lab tests, the dogs can even detect the virus before an infected person displays symptoms, according to the airport operator.

Passengers being tested at the airport won’t come into direct contact with the dogs. Instead, travelers will wipe their own skin and drop the sample into a cup, which is presented to the dog in a separate booth. Currently, testing is optional and anonymous, with passengers voluntarily submitting to be sniffed.

Any passengers who test positive for COVID-19 will be sent to a city health information point inside the airport.

Screenshot from Helsinki Airport's Twitter account

The Hill: It reportedly takes the dog about 10 seconds to indicate whether the sample is COVID-19 positive

Screenshot from The Hill

According to The Hill, it reportedly takes the dog about 10 seconds to indicate whether the sample is COVID-19 positive. Passengers checked by the coronavirus-sniffing canines will then be asked to take a standard test to determine whether the dog’s conclusion was correct. All tests are free for passengers arriving at the airport. 

Several studies have suggested dogs can be trained to successfully identify people infected with the coronavirus through sweat, saliva and urine samples. Some studies showed the dogs could sniff out the virus with almost 95 percent accuracy. 

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