Theyre our four-legged friends, but could they help fight one of our worst enemies?
Malaria infects more than two hundred million people every year.
But now dogs are on the scent.
Socks from children in the Gambia were sent to the Medical Detection Dogs charity here in Milton Keynes.
It’s taken training, but these pooches get it right 70% of the time if the children have malaria.
But if the children were disease free, the dogs got it wrong 10% of the time.
Its still early stages but the study shows dogs have potential.
The most important thing with this is that it is much faster than current, existing
rapid diagnostic tests which can take up to 20 minutes and actually require a fully trained professional to do.
Whereas this - if we had the Medical Detection Dogs going round a community, it will allow the whole community to be surveyed in a very short space of time.
The hope is dogs could work at airports to sniff out passengers with malaria to stop the disease spreading.
But theres still a long way to go before dogs can join the fight.
The researchers will need to improve the dogs’ accuracy
test them on people rather than socks and investigate whether the animals can sniff out different strains of malaria.