He sniffer dog experiment, in which trained animals are used to detect people infected with the new coronavirus, has yielded promising results as announced this Wednesday by the researchers who started the project in Finland.
Three dogs, Kössi, ET and Miina have sniffed around 2,200 passengers since the test cabin was installed, in the arrivals hall at Helsinki airport at the end of September, detecting the virus in 0.6% of travelers.
Although the experiment will continue until December, the team has claimed that the first results they look like compliant with the detection rates of the PCR tests also carried out on the volunteer travelers on arrival. “We have carried out between 16,000 and 17,000 PCR tests at the airport and less than 1% is positive”, the mayor of Vantáa (Helsinki), Timo Aronkytö, explained at a press conference. Compared to the results obtained by the dogs, the PCR tests “are almost identical”, he confirmed.
The researchers are currently looking at the extent to which the two methods coincide with each other – especially whether the dogs detected positive cases in passengers whose infection was later confirmed by a PCR (virological) test – and hope to publish their conclusions at the end of the year.
Experiments conducted in the first wave earlier this year suggested that dogs can detect covid-19 with an accuracy of almost 100%, And till five days before what a PCR test. As for passengers, no reluctance was found, according to project manager Soile Turunen.