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A new study by UK scientists suggests that dogs can be used as tools for diagnosing malaria in people.
Researchers from Durham University and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, aided by the British organization Medical Detection Dogs, found that dogs were able to identify malaria through scent.
In the study, two dogs were trained to distinguish between children who were infected with malaria parasites and those who were not by sniffing their socks.
The sniffer dogs were able to accurately detect 70 percent of infected children and 90 perfect of uninfected children.
“People carrying malaria parasite already have a signature scent, and we know if dogs can smell drugs, food and other substances, they should be able to detect this smell on clothing, too,” Steve Lindsay, lead investigator on the study, tells CNN.
According to the outlet, these findings may be useful in preventing the spread of malaria in people who show no symptoms as well as helping treat people earlier. But more research is needed, and the study is still in the early trial stages.
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