A pilot scheme ran in Helsinki airport, which uses sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 in seconds, reports ‘close to 100% accuracy’.
The state-funded pilot scheme employs four COVID-19 sniffer dogs and started recently at Helsinki airport. Finnish researchers hope that this process will provide a cheap, fast and effective alternative method of testing people for the virus.
Anna Hielm-Björkman of the University of Helsinki is overseeing the trial stated that the entire process takes under a minute with dogs able to detect the virus within 10 seconds.
She said to The Guardian: “It’s very promising. If it works, it could prove a good screening method in other places”.
The four dogs were able to identify the virus with almost 100% accuracy during the university’s preliminary test, even days before before a patient developed symptoms. They had been successfully used previously to detect diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
According to authorities in Vantaa, the city where Helsinki’s international airport is located, the four-months pilot programme costs €300,000 (£274,000) , which it said to be far lower than the cost of laboratory-based testing methods.
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