Covid-19 Scent Testing

The pilot project at Helsinki-Vantaa airport

The pilot project started in summer 2020 when Susanna Paavilainen and researcher Anna Hielm-Björkman from University of Helsinki discovered that scent detection dog Kössi could distinguish Covid-19 positive samples from negative ones. This project has been set up in cooperation with scent detection association Wise Nose and with the University of Helsinki. While Wise Nose trains the Covid-19 sniffer dogs and the University of Helsinki conducts the scientific research, Nose Academy Inc. leads the strategic and operational management of the project at the airport. In addition, the sniffing station itself is a product of our special expertise. Today, our company employs 8 people on this project. 

The sniffing station at Helsinki-Vantaa airport was inaugurated on 23rd September 2020. During the first three months, almost 6,000 people were tested by trained dogs specialized in detecting Covid-19 infections.

A Covid-19 scent test is quick and easy. To obtain a sample, the skin on the arms, wrists, neck, and throat are wiped with a gauze. The sample is placed in a jar which is given to a dog by his/her handler for scent detection. After a few moments the result is ready: Covid-19 negative or positive. All this takes about three minutes.

The Covid-19 scent test is still an unofficial test and all participants are encouraged to get a PCR test as well. The scent test is available to passengers both from international and domestic flights. The sniffing station is open from Monday to Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. (All rights reserved).


Participants may also choose to take part in scent test research where the sensitivity and accuracy of these corona-trained dogs is analysed by comparing the results of dog and PCR tests from the same subjects. The result of this research will be published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal later this year.

For more detailed information and contacts from media, contact Nose Academy project planner Soile Turunen E-mail:

Phone: +358503455549

The Covid-19 pilot project in the media

CNBC video: corona dogs sniffing samples at the Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

Article in the swedish magazine Härliga Hundar (2/2021). PDF-document in swedish.

For more information check out our latest news:

dog sniffing corona samples

E.T, one of the Covid-19 scent detection dogs, indicating a positive sample.

Susanna Paavilainen (left) and Soile Turunen (right) starting their working day at Helsinki-Vantaa airport.

We have designed the sniffing station with three sampling rooms and a separate room for a dog and its handler.