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Dogs sniff out Covid-19 at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

Meetings’ Best Friend?

Covid-detecting dogs are being deployed at Helsinki airport. Another whiff of good news?

The world’s moonshot effort to develop screening protocols, treatments, and vaccines to safeguard against Covid-19 has had several noteworthy milestones recently that are real prospects for getting the meetings and conventions industry back on its feet.

While there’s been Johnson & Johnson’s announcement that it’s starting a 60,000-person phase-three trial of a vaccine that would require only one dose (other trial vaccines have required two), the first large-scale (3,000-person) pilot program for a rapid Covid-19 test for an event, and new studies that suggest that even mild cases of the Covid-19 might create long-lasting immunity, the most recent report that really caught our eye was out of Finland.

At Helsinki-Vantaa Airport in the country’s capital city, coronavirus-detecting dogs began work this week to identify infected travelers by sniffing their sweat. The four-month trial program at arrival hall 2B is voluntary and primarily targeted at passengers arriving from abroad. Test subjects are given cloths to wipe their necks, and the dogs are then given each cloth to smell. In other words, there’s no contact between the dog and the passenger. One study found that dogs could be trained to identify a Covid-19 sample with 94 percent accuracy. A smaller trial with Covid-trained dogs was conducted at Dubai International Airport in August.

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