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Rare sheep could be key to better diagnostic tests in developing world, says Stanford study
Date:7/3/2009

th at Stanford medical school, added: "Diagnosis of bacterial diseases and antibiotic sensitivity in low resource settings is often infeasible due to cost, access to diagnostics or manpower. Ellen Jo Baron and colleagues have uniquely decided to combine veterinary health science and human blood banking to develop a blood agar from hair sheep as medium to grow bacteria. This sheep is a low-maintenance animal adopted for hot climates. The technology, which they are modeling in Botswana, is an example of a practical 'can do' innovation in microbiology that will save lives in the tropics at low cost by quickly identifying bacteria to tailor cost-effective antibiotic use a precious commodity overseas."

Now, said Baron and Yeh, the only hurdle is getting the sheep to the labs that need them. Two veterinary labs in Botswana already provide hair sheep blood to local labs based on Baron's initial results. Baron is now lobbying the charity Heifer International to add hair sheep to its catalogue so microbiologists can donate and send the animals to the developing world. After all, she said, the sheep can provide milk and meat and that's on top of their role as donors of blood that, in her words, "works perfectly for every microbiology test that a laboratory would need to do."


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Contact: Jonathan Rabinovitz
jrabin@stanford.edu
650-724-2459
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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