Finland Becomes Second Country to Use COVID-Sniffing Dogs at Airport | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

Four dogs are sniffing airline passengers in Finland’s Helsinki Airport in a hunt for COVID-19.

The pilot program, which began Wednesday and will be analyzed by researchers at the University of Helsinki, is expected to deliver results in about ten seconds, screening for positive coronavirus cases in less than a minute per person.

Valo, a coronavirus sniffer dog, waits for passengers at the Helsinki airport in Vantaa, Finland on September 22, 2020.
ANTTI AIMO-KOIVISTO/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images

Tests will be conducted on arriving passengers, particularly those from abroad, and are conducted on a voluntary basis. Subjects don’t have direct contact with the dogs, but instead use a wipe on the skin of their neck, which is brought to the dog in a separate booth. Whether the dog indicates a positive detection of COVID or not, a subsequent polymerase chain reaction test—the standard nose swab—is offered free to arriving travelers for comparative data.

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Helsinki Airport introduced the COVID detection plan in a Saturday tweet, featuring a photo of a dog capable of detecting the coronavirus.

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Regardless of whether they test positive, they will be urged to take a standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coronavirus test, so that researchers can monitor the dogs’ accuracy. All tests are free for travelers arriving at the airport.

International researchers have evaluated the use of dogs in detecting COVID-19, but according to The Washington Post the Finnish airport trial is among the largest and most advanced efforts yet.