An airport in Finland is using sniffer dogs to detect passengers infected with the coronavirus. Helsinki Airport is trialing the scheme, which will see ten dogs trained in total by Wise Nose, a smell detection agency, with four deployed to work per shift. It follows a study by the University of Helsinki's Veterinary Faculty, which suggested trained dogs can detect COVID-19 with close to 100% certainty.
Finnish airport operator Finavia said: "We are among the pioneers. As far as we know, no other airport has attempted to use canine scent detection on such a large scale against COVID-19. "This might be an additional step forward on the way to beating COVID-19."
But for those hoping for a quick play with a puppy, there's bad news - there's no direct interaction between passengers and the pooches. Those who are tested will also receive a conventional check to make sure the animals are accurate.
One of the dogs - an eight-year-old greyhound mix called Kossi, learned to identify the scent in just seven minutes. The scheme will see passengers swab their skin with a wipe, which they will then drop into a cup to be given to one of the dogs to check in a separate booth.
The operation is being run in this way to protect passengers' anonymity and also protect dog handlers.
Anyone who tests positive will be sent to an information point at the airport.