Medicine: Aid from an Ancient Animal

Though motorists who must swerve to avoid hitting them on roads throughout the Southwest may think otherwise, armadillos do have their uses. The little armored anteaters are edible, and their shells can be used to make novelty items like bowls and baskets. Now it seems that these primeval-looking animals may get a role in man's efforts to cure an ancient disease. Researchers at the Gulf South Research Institute in New Iberia, La., and at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in nearby Carville believe that armadillos may be ideal test animals for leprosy research.

No species shares man's natural susceptibility to leprosy,...

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