Coronavirus sniffing dogs have been deployed for a four-month test phase at Helsinki-Vantaa airport near Helsinki, Finland.
The dogs are operated by Finnish Wise Nose association that has also taken care of their training. Upon arriving at a sampling point at the airport, a passenger enters a small, screen-bound space and takes a voluntary self-sweeping sample from the skin surface and drops it into a designated container as instructed.
The dog and its handler wait behind a wall where the dog sniffs the given sample. In this way, allergic passengers are taken into account and care is taken to ensure that handlers are not exposed to the virus.
The whole procedure is over in a minute says Anna Hielm-Bjoerkman, docent of veterinary medicine in charge of Corona-sniffing dog project at Helsinki University.
Officials say dogs are able to detect coronavirus from a significantly lower number of viruses than commonly used PCR tests. In practice, therefore, a dog will be able to detect a coronavirus in a person earlier than laboratory tests.
In case of a positive result, the passenger is directed to Helsinki University Hospital’s information point for further action.