Giant rats are not an obvious ally in the fight against deadly diseases but, in Tanzania, scientists are training a team of super-rodents to sniff out the bacterial infection tuberculosis (TB).
TB kills more people than any other infectious disease, apart from HIV, and can be difficult to diagnose without costly, sophisticated equipment.
The charity Apopo is already using native African giant pouched rats to sniff out landmines, and now the intelligent rodents have shown a talent for identifying infections.
The rats have improved detection rates in local TB clinics by over 30 percent; can screen patients’ samples dozens of times faster than humans can; and will work - literally - for peanuts.
Dr Javid Abdelmoneim visits the world's first laboratory that uses rats to diagnose disease.
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