Scientists have trained mice to recognize the scent of bird flu in duck poop, and they think they can train dogs to do the same thing. If so, flu-sniffing animals could become a new line of defense in the fight against epidemics.
The latest findings focus on the detection of avian influenza, a.k.a. bird flu.
But Bruce Kimball, a U.S. Department of Agriculture researcher who presented the study in Boston at a meeting of the American Chemical Society, suggested that the trick could be used to sniff out other diseases as well.
“To be honest with you, I think we could demonstrate this type of effect in a lot of areas,” he told me.
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