Pandemic Pooches: Helsinki Airport employs COVID-19 sniffing dogs

Move over dogs that detect drugs, bombs and all manner of contraband being smuggled through airports.

Finland has brought in specially trained pandemic pooches to sniff out cases of COVID-19.

The Helsinki Airport put the dogs to work this week after the City of Vantaa made the decision to use coronavirus dogs in attempt to keep the virus out of the country — or at least detect cases coming in.

In order to protect the dog, the animal doesn’t haven’t any direct interactions with passengers.

Instead, the pooch is kept in a booth and then is presented with jar containing a wipe that has been swiped across the passenger’s skin.

The dog can safely take a whiff of the sample.

“According to Wise Nose Association, which is responsible for the health and well-being of corona dogs, a dog cannot become infected, nor they can pass on corona,” the airport authority explained.

“This also protects the dog’s handler from infections,” the airport authority explained.

Dogs have previously been used to pick up cancer in patients.

Officials said the dogs has been practising for about two months by sniffing positive coronavirus samples and comparing them to samples from healthy people. 

They found the dogs indicate positive cases in various ways. Some of them show excitement or they lay down or point.

“[Sniffer dog] ET smells through the track, puts his nose in the jar of positive sample and paw next to the jar,” the city said by way of example.

“The result of a corona test is obtained immediately and more effectively than in laboratories, as dogs are able to differentiate the infection even days before the onset of symptoms,” it added.

Photo: Helsinki Airport/Twitter

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