Unusually keen instinct of dogs is used by mankind for various purposes for millennia. But only in our days it was found that man’s best friend can detect different diseases – including malaria.
Already well established, that after training the dog nearly instantly and accurately identify patients the presence of some forms of cancer (e.g., prostate cancer), diabetes and even can predict the approach of an attack of epilepsy.
The use of “four-legged diagnosticians” in medicine, have received particularly widespread in the UK (Great Britain), where for nearly 10 years of successfully operating non-governmental organization with the appropriate name – Medical Detection Dogs.
In the near future the employees of the organization together with scientists from the University of Durham (Durham University) and the London school of hygiene and tropical medicine (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) will begin training dogs to perform an important task – to identify patients with malaria at an early stage.
This project is very interested in the famous philanthropists bill gates and his wife co-founders of the Foundation Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has funded a pilot research in this area a grant in the amount over 100 000 USD.
Currently, diagnosis of malaria requires laboratory analysis of blood, and the use of a four-legged helpers will help to dispense the blood sample and special equipment. A trained dog is able in a short time to sniff a few hundred people (for example, all the inhabitants of a small village) and to identify patients with malaria.
Scientists involved in this project believe that the use of “four-legged diagnosticians” in Africa, where malaria is still a huge problem that will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the fight against this deadly disease.
In the first stage using the dogs will be tested 400 samples of sweat obtained from the residents of the African country of the Gambia (Gambia). Of this number, 15% of the samples will be selected from people already diagnosed “malaria”. This will allow to determine the diagnostic accuracy of the disease with dog noses.
If the results are deemed promising, the next phase of the study will be allocated 1 000 000 USD.