• The Financial District


Four specially trained dogs, who can detect the COVID-19 virus faster than laboratory tests, have gone on duty at Finland’s biggest airport this week as part of a pilot project, the Finnish news agency Yle reported. 

Two of the four dogs are on duty at a time while the other two rest in Helsinki airport, said Anna Hielm-Björkman, who has led the corona dog research and training at the University of Helsinki’s Veterinary Faculty. Finnish researchers hope that the state-funded pilot scheme will provide a cheap, fast, and effective alternative method of testing people for COVID-19. 

Given that dogs can detect the presence of coronavirus within 10 seconds and the entire process takes less than a minute to complete, Bjorkman finds the results very promising, The Guardian and teleSur also reported. 

At this stage, taking part in the canine testing is voluntary for travelers and airport staff. Björkman encourages travelers to give it a try, describing the process as "easy, painless and completely pleasant." Travelers who want to be tested step into small, screened-off areas, where they take skin wipe samples of themselves as directed and drop them into a receptacle. The dog and its trainer wait behind a screen, where the animal sniffs each sample. The arrangement is intended to protect people who may be allergic to dogs from coming into direct contact with them, while protecting the handlers from possible exposure to the virus. “The whole procedure is over in minutes,” Björkman told Yle.

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