Rats are creatures usually regarded with repulsion and disgust. However, there are certain rats that could save your life. Since 1997, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Tanzania has been training African giant pouched rats to detect two things: landmines and tuberculosis.
The organisation, APOPO (short for its Dutch name Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling), has been training rats to sniff out landmines and detect tuberculosis, according to a video by Insh. These rats are nicknamed HeroRats by the organisation.
Abandoned landmines are estimated to kill 4,000 people each year. Meanwhile, tuberculosis is a disease that affects the lungs. According to APOPO, in most sub-Saharan African countries, only about half of the patients with active tuberculosis are correctly diagnosed.
HeroRats are specially trained to smell TNT. They are also so light that they don't trigger off landmines, walking right over them without an explosion. These rats are trained to scratch the ground when they smell an explosive. Moreover, for tuberculosis detection, a HeroRat can check 100 suspect sputum samples in 20 minutes. A lab technician would take four days to complete the same task, estimates APOPO.
According to Insh, of the 111 rats that have gone through training, not a single one has been lost on the job. After their active field duty is over, HeroRats enjoy a peaceful retirement.Click for more trending news
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