The first ever airport program to use Coronavirus Detecting Dogs began sniffing samples at Helsinki-Vantaa airport this week. The trial was funded by Evidensia, a nonprofit organization that funds animal research. However, it is not yet clear how efficiently the dogs can detect the virus, or what exactly they are capable of. In the meantime, passengers can expect to see the dogs at the terminals for free.
Dogs can be sniffed for other diseases
The first airport program to use Coronavirus Detecting Dogs is at Miami International Airport. The Miami-Dade Aviation Department and Florida International University recently partnered to develop the program. The three dogs, Beta and Cobra, have been trained to detect the virus on face masks and alert their handlers. The dogs can also sniff for other diseases. While the first pilot program is being evaluated at Miami International, more programs may be developed.
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The dogs have a 98% detection rate when trained by a lab. The training program is expected to continue for a few months, and after that, other COVID-sniffing canines could potentially be deployed to other airports and schools. The program is also expected to extend to university classrooms. But a large number of dogs would be needed to ensure an adequate coverage of the airport.