Fighting Tuberculosis




2,529,000 new case of Tuberculosis were reported in Africa in 2005. This accounted for 29% of new TB cases reported globally.

Currently, TB cases are detected through sputum smear microscopy, which is a slow and costly process that has not changed much over 100 years. Moreover, the test is not very accurate. Many countries' chances to successfully fight TB in the future depend very much on their capacity to detect TB cases quickly and accurately.

HeroRATS offer a local solution to the TB epidemic. A rat can evaluate 40 samples in 10 minutes, equal to what a skilled lab technician, using microscopy, will do in two days. Without requiring sophisticated instruments, this method is non invasive and can handle a high volume of samples, all very important factors in a pro-active screening approach.

The concept is very simple: rats sniff a series of holes, under which human sputum samples are lined up for evaluation. They pinpoint the samples which contain TB bacteria. Their correct indications are rewarded with a food treat.
Currently HeroRATS serve a population of 500,000 people in deprived communities in Dar Es Salaam and Morogoro, and weekly find 5 to 10 patients that have been missed by mircoscopes.

With your help the widespread use of this technology can be adopted as a diagnostic tool in African health centers, to control public health effectively at reduced costs.