Sniffer dogs to check air passengers in Finland for COVID-19

Dogs are now being trained to detect whether passengers at Helsinki airport have been infected with the coronavirus as Evidensia, a nationwide network of veterinary clinics and hospitals, announced plans to pay for the trainers’ wages and for the training, nutrition and medical services of 16 dogs.

Failing to obtain public funding after numerous attempts, the project ended up relying on private funding.

“As the coronavirus testing queues are only getting longer and the situation is getting worse, we saw it as our obligation to get involved, Virpi Perälä, a Communications Director at Evidensia, told Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE).

Initial results have been promising.

Already within the first two weeks, seven of the first 16 dogs chosen managed to detect the coronavirus scent from a skin wipe sample.

The dogs will be working at the airport test centres in September but will have to get accustomed to the airport noise and bustle first.

(Pekka Vänttinen |

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