An airport in Helsinki, Finland, began using dogs trained to detect COVID-19 along with normal testing methods earlier this week.
A private veterinary clinic in Finland sponsored 15 dogs and 10 instructors to administer the test along with other standard testing methods, according to Reuters. The ability of dogs to sniff out COVID-19 to has not been scientifically validated so volunteer passengers must still be swabbed if they show signs of the virus.
The passenger will swab their neck with gauze, then put it in a can to be taken to a room where a dog will sniff the sample. (RELATED: Airline Group Signs Letter Calling For Europe-US COVID Test-Sharing To Save Industry)
Covid-19 dogs started their work today at the Helsinki Airport at arrival hall 2B. Dogs have been trained to detect the coronavirus from the test wipes given by the testperson. Service is voluntary and primarily targeted for passengers arriving from abroad. pic.twitter.com/ieMLm0KuZY
— Helsinki Airport (@HelsinkiAirport) September 22, 2020
“What we’ve seen in our research is that the dogs will find (the disease) five days before (patients) get any clinical symptoms,” Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, who is an adjunct professor at the University of Helsinki and specialized in clinical research for companion animals, told Reuters.
“They are very good. We come close to 100-percent sensitivity,” she added.
The United Arab Emirates attempted similar testing using police dogs in August, per the report.