It may seem surprising, but dogs are incredible creatures. Once again they have shown it to us. In this case, thanks to Lexi, Freya and Sally, a retriever, a springer spaniel and a labrador respectively. These three animals are able to detect malaria just by smelling socks. Yes, yes, as you can hear. They were specially trained to identify the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which causes the disease and is transmitted by the anopheles mosquito.
The breakthrough has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (LSHTM) with the organization Medical Detection Dogs. The latter dedicates its efforts to training different breeds of dogs to perform early detection of various diseases, including prostate cancer or diabetes. The trick to all this lies in the dogs’ incredibly developed sense of smell. Do you want to know how they detect the «smell» of malaria?