Airport dogs offer ‘almost 100% accurate' covid detection 'five days earlier ...

AIRPORT sniffer dogs could help to improve detection of coronavirus at airports according to a new trial. How would the idea work?

PUBLISHED: 13:02, Thu, Nov 5, 2020 | UPDATED: 13:06, Thu, Nov 5, 2020

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A trial conducted at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, in Finland, has reported that sniffer dogs can detect coronavirus almost as accurately as PCR tests. In its preliminary trials, the research has seen around 100 passengers per day tested using the dogs.

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Arriving passengers are asked to line up for the test, and wipe their skin with a cloth.

The cloth is then placed in a can for the dogs to sniff.

Sniffer dogs are trained to avoid negative samples but attract to positive ones.

Dogs are trained to point out a positive test by yelping, pawing or lying down.

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Dogs airport testingAirport testing: Dogs could provide a cheaper and quicker alternative to PCR testing (Image: Getty Images)

Airport testing with dogsAirport testing: Passengers provide a swab of their skin which is sniffed by dogs (Image: Getty Images)

Should a dog alert staff of what it thinks is a positive test, the passenger is then taken for a nasal PCR test.

At the time of writing, around 2,200 passengers have participated in the experiment, with trials anticipated to run throughout December.

Passengers at the airport are taking part in the trial voluntarily.

According to Anna Hielm-Björkman of the University of Helsinki, who is overseeing the trial, using sniffer dogs could provide a cheap and fast alternative to PCR testing at airports.

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