Helsinki airport uses dogs to test travelers for coronavirus

Written by on September 27, 2020

Specially trained dogs are able to detect coronavirus with great accuracy, almost a week before an infected person develops symptoms.

airport security US dog 248 88 ap (photo credit:)

airport security US dog 248 88 ap

(photo credit: )

Finland is using sniffer dogs to test travelers for coronavirus in Helsinki-Vantaa airport as part of a pilot program, according to BBC News. 

Specially trained dogs are able to detect coronavirus with great accuracy, almost a week before an infected person develops symptoms. The dogs “come close to 100% sensitivity,” according to University of Helsinki Professor and trial director Anna Hielm-Bjorkmam.

The program began on Wednesday and 16 dogs are being trained by Wild Nose, a Finish organization that specializes in animal scent detection, according to The Guardian.

Dogs are given cloths that travelers wipe across their necks, and sniff the cloths to detect the virus. There is hope that in the future, the dogs will be able to discern travelers positive for coronavirus by walking around them, in the same manner as customs checks.

It only takes 10 seconds for dogs to identify coronavirus from a sample, meaning that the whole testing process takes less than a minute, the Guardian reported. 

Similar research is being carried out in multiple countries and Dubai’s international airport began a similar pilot last month.

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