TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Dogs used to detect coronavirus in pilot project at Helsinki airport

  • Anne Kauranen

    Reuters

Helsinki, Finland   /   Thu, September 24, 2020   /   05:30 pm
Dogs used to detect coronavirus in pilot project at Helsinki airport Sniffer dogs Valo (left) and E.T., being trained to detect the coronavirus from the arriving passengers' samples, are seen in Helsinki Airport in Vantaa, Finland on Tuesday. (Reuters/Attila Cser)

Dogs trained to detect the novel coronavirus began sniffing passenger samples at Finland's Helsinki-Vantaa airport this week, authorities said, in a pilot project running alongside more usual testing at the airport.

The dogs' efficiency has not been proven in comparative scientific studies so passengers who volunteer to be tested and are suspected as carrying the virus are instructed to also take a swab to confirm the result.

A team of 15 dogs and 10 instructors are being trained for the job in Finland by volunteers, sponsored by a private veterinary clinic. Among them is Kossi, a rescue dog from Spain, who was trained as a sniffer dog in Finland and who has worked before detecting cancers.

"What we've seen in our research is that the dogs will find (the disease) five days before they (patients) get any clinical symptoms," Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, who is Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and specialized in clinical research for companion animals, told Reuters.

"They are very good [at it[. We come close to 100-percent sensitivity," she said, referring to the dogs's ability to detect cases of the virus.

In the canine test, a passenger swipes their neck with a gauze, places it in a can which is then handed over to another room for a dog to sniff and to deliver an immediate result.

A few months ago, authorities in the United Arab Emirates embarked on similar canine testing at Dubai International Airport using police dogs.

"In the future, it's also possible... that these dogs go around passengers in a similar way to customs dogs," Vantaa deputy mayor Timo Aronkyto, said.