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Malaria Detection Dogs

Prof James Logan (LSHTM), Prof Steve Lindsay (Durham University), Clare Guest (Medical Detection Dogs) - £95,822
1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 (Commercialisation Award BSA39)

Medical detection dogs are increasingly being deployed in high-income countries as an efficient, reliable, and mobile diagnostic intervention to recognise volatile biomarkers contained in human breath, skin, and urine that are produced by specific diseases and chronic health conditions. Recent work has shown that patients infected with falciparum malaria produce specific odours in their body odour. There is great potential for dogs to be used at ports of entry for screening travellers entering malaria free areas susceptible to re-invasion, and in communities where malaria is approaching zero and only a few individuals in several thousand carry parasites and act as reservoirs of infection. This is a pilot study of malaria detecting dogs, aimed at providing field evaluation and a mechanism for deployment and scale up in developing countries. The team has identified the volatile organic compounds associated with malaria infection in the laboratory and patented the detection of those compounds as biomarkers for malaria diagnosis. They are now working to develop medical detection dogs as a diagnostic method.

Research team:

Prof James Logan, Professor Head of Department of Disease Control (LSHTM) and Director of ARTEC
Prof Steve Lindsay, Professor (Durham University)
Dr Clare Guest, CEO (Medical Detection Dogs)