Dogs can now detect coronavirus after been through some training. In Finland, dogs are working on a trial to detect coronavirus as they can smell the scent of it. Helsinki’s airport is the first airport in Finland to use this method.
Over the past few months, international airports used several methods to detect coronavirus. These methods include saliva screening, nasal swabs, and temperature checks. However, these ways are much more costly and less effective when compared to the dog-sniffing method. This is because using the dog-sniffing method only takes up to 10seconds, and the process does not bring any discomfort.
How is it done?
When the international passenger arrives at the airport, the person in charge will ask them to wipe their neck in order to collect sweat samples. The dog trainers will then put the box containing sweat samples in front of the dogs for them to detect.
According to the University of Helsinki’s veterinary faculty, the trained sniffer dogs can either detect virus from sweat or urine samples. When a positive sample occurs, the trained dog will make a specific sound. When the dog sniffs a negative sample, it will not have any reaction.
Due to a dog’s sharp sense of smell, it has been used in airports to detect drugs, bombs, and contraband for a long period of time. Therefore, using dogs to detect virus amid the pandemic became an obvious choice for the team, said Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a researcher at the University of Helsinki.
Based on the results shown during the trial, dogs have done a great job. This is because dogs could sniff out the virus in a person before the symptoms appeared. Dogs could even have a 94 per cent success rate when it comes to distinguishing saliva samples of people infected from non-infected samples.
Could this dog-sniffing program become a thing?
In recent months, trials conducted in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States have assessed how dogs could detect the coronavirus. Researchers also said that if these pilot programs prove effective, dogs could have been in many uses. For example, dogs can be trained and placed in retirement homes or in hospitals to screen residents. This method can help avoid unnecessary quarantines for health care professionals. However, such programs could be risky and tricky.
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Prepared by: Anne