Four Covid-19 police dogs have begun work at Helsinki airport in a state-funded pilot scheme that Finnish researchers hope will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative way to test people for the virus.

According to Anna Helm-Bjorkman of the University of Helsinki, who is overseeing the experiment, the dog is able to detect the presence of the Coronavirus within 10 seconds, and the entire process takes less than a minute.

“It’s very promising,” said Helm Bjorkman. “If successful, it may prove to be a good screening method in other places” such as hospitals, nursing homes, sporting and cultural events.


After receiving their luggage, arriving international travelers are required to scan their necks. In a separate compartment, the jar containing the tissue is placed next to another containing different scents, and the dog begins to smell.

If it indicates detection of the virus – usually by shouting, scratching, or lying down – the passenger is advised to take a free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test using a nasal swab to check the dog’s judgment.

In initial university tests, dogs – which had previously been used to screen for diseases like cancer and diabetes – were able to identify the virus with nearly 100% accuracy, even days before a patient had symptoms.

Scientists do not yet know what exactly dogs will smell when they detect the virus. French study The post in June concluded that there was “very high evidence” that the smell of sweat in people with Covid virus was different from that of those who did not have the virus, and that dogs could detect this difference.

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Dogs can also identify Covid-19 from a much smaller molecular sample than PCR tests. Helsinki Airport said, It only takes 10-100 molecules to detect the presence of the virus, compared to the 18 million lab devices needed.

Authorities in Vantaa, the city where Helsinki International Airport is located, said the pilot program, which was scheduled to last four months, was costing 300,000 euros (274,000 pounds sterling), which they said was far less than laboratory-based testing methods.

Although Covid-19 has been known to infect mink and cats, dogs do not possess the receptors needed for the virus to easily gain a foothold and do not appear to be infected easily. According to Helm Bjorkmann. There is no evidence that they can transmit the virus to humans or other animals.

A Finnish organization that specializes in animal odor detection, Wise Nose, is training a total of 16 dogs for the project, 10 of whom are expected to eventually be able to work at the airport. Work began in two shifts, four of them – ET, Kossi, Miina and Valo – on Wednesday.

Researchers in countries such as Australia, France, Germany and Britain are reportedly working on similar projects however Finland It is the first country in Europe to put dogs to work to smell the Corona virus. A similar experiment began at Dubai International Airport last month.