Malaria killed over 650,000 people in 2010, with 90% of deaths occurring in Africa. The problem isn’t the lack of treatment and prevention measures, in fact, ACTs (artemisinin-based combination therapies), sprays, and bed nets have been widely used. The real challenge is developing cost-effective drugs (ACTs are costly and some people are forced to purchase lower-quality drugs) and preventing daytime mosquitoes from infecting victims.
Venture capital group ieCrowd and Olfactor Laboratories have developed a patch that’s able to repel mosquitoes by inhibiting their ability to sense carbon dioxide, which is one of ways mosquitoes are able to detect the presence of humans. Each patch can last up to 48 hours and will be sold at an affordable price in both the developing and developed markets (although the exact cost and date of availability to US consumers has yet to be determined).
The company behind the technology have set up an Indiegogo campaign and so far have raised more than $500,000, substantially more than their original goal of $75,000. They’ve also received grants from the National Institute of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The money they’ve received will be used to produce the first set of patches which will be tested in three districts in Uganda. After the tests, the company plans on registering their product with the EPA in the US before scaling their product.
For more detail, visit the Wired article covering the Kite patch
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