Finland Deploys Coronavirus-Sniffing Dogs at Helsinki Airport

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  • Bloomberg QuickTake: Now published this video item, entitled “Finland Deploys Coronavirus-Sniffing Dogs at Helsinki Airport” – below is their description.

    Finland has deployed coronavirus-sniffing dogs at its main international airport in a four-month trial of an alternative testing method. It’s hoped it will become a cost-effective and quick way to identify infected travelers. Four dogs trained by Finland’s Smell Detection Association started working Wednesday at the Helsinki Airport as part of the government-financed trial. Researchers in several countries including Australia, France, Germany and the United States are also studying canines as coronavirus detectors but the Finnish trial is among the largest so far. Finland is the second country after the United Arab Emirates – and the first in Europe – to assign dogs to sniff out coronavirus. A similar program started at Dubai International Airport over the summer. The canines were trained and showed successful results in differentiating between urine samples from COVID-19 patients and healthy individuals. Passengers who agree to take a free test under the voluntary program in Helsinki do not have direct physical contact with a dog. They are asked to swipe their skin with a wipe which is then put into a jar and given to a dog waiting in a separate booth. The participating animals – ET, Kossi, Miina and Valo – previously underwent training to detect cancer, diabetes and other diseases. It takes the dog just 10 seconds to sniff the virus samples before giving a result by scratching a paw, laying down, barking or otherwise making itself known. The process should only take a maximum of one minute. If the result is positive, the passenger is urged to take a standard polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, coronavirus test, to check the dog’s accuracy. The four sniffer dogs are set to work at the airport in shifts, with two on duty at a time while the other two get a break.

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    In This Story: COVID-19

    Covid-19 is the official WHO name given to the novel coronavirus which broke out in late 2019 and began to spread in the early months of 2020.

    Symptoms of coronavirus

    The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

    • a persistent new cough (non productive, dry)
    • a high temperature (e.g. head feels warm to the touch)
    • shortness of breath (if this is abnormal for the individual, or increased)

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