Dogs Used To trace Covid-19 At Helsinki Airport


A test started this week at Helsinki Airport with the use of dogs that can detect covid-19 infections in passengers. The test is an initiative of the municipality of Vantaa, where Finland’s largest airport is located. The city believes that the use of dogs is an efficient way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

According to airport company Finavia, it is relatively easy for dogs to detect corona infections. Initial tests conducted by the University of Helsinki have already shown encouraging results.

Dogs were able to smell the virus almost 100 percent of the time. They can even detect the virus days before the first symptoms appear. “That is something that laboratory tests have proved impossible,” says Finavia. Dogs only need ten to a hundred molecules to identify the virus, PCR tests involve eighteen million molecules.

The test does not require direct contact between passengers and dogs. Participants in the test wipe their skin with a cloth and place it in a cup. This is then presented to the dog in an isolated room for “inspection”. In the case of a positive test result, the passenger will be taken to a health point at the airport.

Currently, dogs from the organization Wise Nose, which is affiliated with the university, are used for the test. In the future, tracking dogs from Finnish customs could take over the tasks. To make this possible, the legislation still needs to be amended.

According to Finavia director Ulla Lettijeff, Helsinki Airport is one of the pioneers in the detection of corona infections with dogs. Last month, Dubai Airport started using dogs to detect covid-19 using blood samples.

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