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Dogs are sniffing for coronavirus in Finland's airports

Helsinki sniffer dog
(Image credit: @helsinkiairport)

Finland is launching a pilot program where dogs will sniff out travelers infected with Coronavirus.

The program will begin at Helsinki Airport on September 23, following a theory that changes in health (including infection by a virus), affects the way people smell. Dogs can smell that slight change in scent, as has been proven in other medical cases. As PetsRadar previously reported, dogs can and have helped detect diseases like diabetes, malaria, and more just by using their powerful noses.

According to a report in The Washington Post , the dogs will sniff sweat samples and will not come in contact with any travelers. Those who agree to take part in the entirely free test will swab their necks to produce a sample for the canine helpers to sniff. The results are immediate, and if participants test positive, Helsinki Airport staff will urge them to take a Coronavirus test, although there's no legal requirement to do so. Even those who test negative will be encouraged to take a COVID-19 test to determine how accurate the dogs are. It will be interesting to see how the results of this experiment in Finland will translate worldwide – could we see Coronavirus-sniffing dogs in more airports in 2020 or 2021?

As we mentioned in our story about dog doctors, canines who are trained to sniff out diseases are trained to respond to a certain smell, either by pawing at the scent, lying down in front of a positive sample, or alerting their trainer in another manner.

Even though some of our puppy pals across the world have tested positive for Coronavirus, it's important to note that the World Health Organization still does not believe dogs are active transmitters of the COVID-19 virus.