Coronavirus sniffing dogs are set to begin working at Helsinki Airport in Finland. The city of Vantaa believes the dogs can be efficient at ensuring the health of the people at airports.

“The pilot that will be kicked off on 22 September 2020 is unique and a world first. No other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19. We are pleased with the city of Vantaa’s initiative. This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19,” said Ulla Lettijeff, the director of Helsinki Airport.

Preliminary tests conducted by a research group at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki showed that dogs are able to smell the virus with almost 100 percent accuracy. They can also identify the virus days before the symptoms have even started.

Wise Nose, Nose Academy, the research group’s start-up company, trained the COVID-19 detection dogs and is currently running the operation at the airport. The official coronavirus testing with trained dogs can only begin once the corresponding legislative amendment has been passed.

Those who will take a COVID-19 dog test at Helsinki Airport will not be in direct contact with the dog. The dogs will be in a separate booth. Those taking the test will use a test swipe to swipe their skin and drop it into a cup. The test wipe will be given to the dog, and if it is positive, the passenger will be directed to a health information point located at the airport.

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