Rodents that detect TB faster than human

imageIt African giant pouched rat which is capable of identifying positive samples of pulmonary tuberculosis. the rodent is a member of the Muroidea rodent super family that includes hamsters, gerbils, mice and the common kitchen rat.

After training, the rodents can detect a distinctive odor in just 200th of a second  and are already saving lives in Tanzania. During trials, these rats have shown improved detection rates by up to 23 %. A trained human laboratory technician can screen about 40 samples a day using a microscope; a pouched rat can screen those many samples in seven minutes, and 1680 samples a day.Studies are on to use trained animals such as dogs, bees and now, rats, to detect “biomarkers” that indicate illnesses. Rats are also being used to detect landmines in Tanzania, Mozambique and Thailand.


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