Finland, the ‘land of thousand lakes,’ surely does not need multiple takes before innovating ways in which it can cater to its peoples’ well-being. So how is that? Not the largest of European countries around, Finland has taken a giant leap in conducting COVID 19 Tests, tackling a concern that has jolted much of the world this year.
Ranked among the happiest countries in the world, Finland is sniffing out the threat associated with COVID 19, one of the breaking developments at this time suggests.
And just how is the land of the stunning Lapland doing that? Well, unusual and interesting in equal measure, Finland- at this point- is pioneering the use of sniffer dogs to test coronavirus samples.
At a time where even the most developed economies powered by excellent healthcare systems are grappling with the big ‘if and but’ : how to handle complications with conducting COVID 19 Tests, there are sniffer dogs in Finland that are enabling the country to fight back.
As a matter of fact, a few hours back, a pilot project including several sniffer dogs in Finland commenced at Helsinki’s Vantaa airport. As the biggest entry point to and fro Finland, Vantaa, which became operational in 1952, handles a large influx of tourist numbers year after year month after month.
It is here where a health-related scuffle among a group of people can be picked out and investigated and hence, subjected to timely intervention thereof. The Helsinki-based airport happens to be the very spot where, at this time, no fewer than 10 sniffer dogs are sniffing out the Coronavirus samples.
The following is how the process is taking shape:
The samples are collected, voluntarily from the arriving passengers.
The programme has been put into implementation only around the last week of September-to-first week of October
The pilot program isn’t a random health-check activity; and is in fact, to last until the end of the pandemic-hit 2020.
At any point, there are 4 dogs on duty at the said airport, with two working with their respective handlers whilst the other two rest and rotationally.
But it’s important to note that one of the most widely-acknowledged programs in the entirety of Finland would not have taken shape without the timely assistance given from the Finnish Odour-Separation Dog Association- Wise nose.
This is an organisation formed exclusively to conduct a wide variety of training and tests on the subject of recognising diseases using the dog’s abilities to smell, a program that co-operates with the respected University of Helsinki, one of the most revered institutions in all of Finland.
A report published on EU Observer further underlined the salient features of the program that’s making headlines and its worthwhile to note:
The only reward the Covid-19 dogs gets – in addition to having an interesting job – is a freeze-fried meat delicacy when it marks a positive corona-sample.
Their handler sets out an extra ‘positive’ sample if there is too long a time-gap between positive samples, to keep their motivation high. So far, only one percent of tested passengers have come back as positive.
Some 16 dogs were tested for the research study and training, run by Helsinki University, last spring.
The purpose was to teach the dogs to distinguish the smell of coronavirus molecules from other smells so that the dogs could be used at airports and other border crossings to assist in detecting arriving passengers carrying Covid-19.
Moving on, what’s rather impressive is to note the impact of putting together this group of sniffer dogs in Finland in a one-of-a-kind pilot program in the country. So far, the results to sniff COVID-samples are excellent in that the dogs can detect the virus in people earlier than the results delivered through PCR-Tests analyzed in laboratories.
Well, that’s Finland in all its might; not just the land obsessed with the beer or the sublime pleasures of spending a better part of the year in the sauna!