Man’s best friend may soon have another string to add to its bow following reports that sniffer dogs are being used to scan people for COVID at Helsinki airport.
Anyone who’s had a COVID test will agree it’s a somewhat invasive experience, but sniffer dogs are presenting themselves as a less intrusive alternative.
After travellers pick up their luggage from the baggage claim at the airport, they can elect to be tested by sniffer dogs for the virus.
Volunteers have sweat wiped from the neck and a swab is left in a box. This is then placed next to containers of other scents, which the dog then sniffs and compares.
The whole process takes less than a minute – if the result is positive, travellers are taken to the airport’s health centre for a free nasal swab test to confirm.
University of Helsinki researcher Anna Hielm-Björkman says the dogs could eventually be deployed to aged care homes, schools and other places with crowds.
“You could open up society in another way if you had those dogs,” she said.
Two dogs are currently on the job and another 14 are reportedly being trained.
Sounds a lot more complicated than playing fetch!