KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 ― Aside from detecting illegal substances and contraband, sniffer dogs will now be used to detect coronavirus too.
News agency Reuters reported that Finland's Helsinki-Vantaa airport is using dogs specially trained to detect Covid-19 and the mutts had this week started sniffing passengers as part of a trial.
“The dogs can detect coronavirus in humans five days before they develop symptoms,” Helsinki University professor Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, who is running the trial, said.
“They are very good [at detecting coronavirus]. We come close to 100 per cent sensitivity,” she added.
As to how the tests are undertaken, passengers wipe their necks with gauze, which are then placed in a can and put in front of dogs to sniff with results to be delivered in minutes.
While the trial has shown early promise, more research needs to be done to prove the efficiency of canine testing.
“At the moment, passengers who take part in the trial are also instructed to take a swab to confirm the result,” the agency reported.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reported that four dogs have begun working at the airport.
“If it indicates it has detected the virus ― usually by yelping, pawing or lying down ― the passenger is advised to take a free standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, using a nasal swab, to verify the dog’s verdict,” added the portal.
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