News / Health

Promising Mosquito Repellent Announced

Promising Mosquito Repellent Announcedi
X
January 03, 2014 5:08 PM
In many regions of the world, mosquitoes are a seasonal pest. In other regions, they carry serious diseases like malaria. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 630,000 people died of malaria-related causes in 2012, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Now, a group of U.S.-based scientists is working to develop a more effective and less expensive mosquito repellent than currently in use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
George Putic
In many regions of the world, mosquitoes are a seasonal pest. In other regions, they carry serious diseases like malaria. The World Health Organization estimates that almost 630,000 people died of malaria-related causes in 2012, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Now, a group of U.S.-based scientists is working to develop a more effective and less expensive mosquito repellent than currently in use.  
 
The research, at the University of California Riverside, is based on the fact that mosquitoes use the same receptor for detecting carbon dioxide in our breath as they do for the odor from our skin when they come closer. 
 
The lead investigator, Anandasankar Ray, says scientists tested more than a million chemical compounds until they found a substance called Ethyl pyruvate that shuts down the mosquitoes’ receptor.
 
“When we apply Ethyl pyruvate to a human arm and offer it to hungry mosquitoes in a cage, then very few of the mosquitoes are attracted to the human arm because only a few of them are able to smell it out," said Ray.
 
Genevieve Tauxe, also on the team, says finding the mosquito neurons that detect both our breath and skin odor was not easy. 
 
“With this apparatus, we are able to insert a very small electrode into the part of the mosquito's nose, effectively, where its olfactory neurons are and where the smell is happening," said Tauxe.
 
With these instruments, scientists were able to detect the signals that a mosquito’s neurons send to its brain when it senses attractive odors.  Spikes on the computer screen show when the attraction is strong or weak.
 
Ray says a repellent based on Ethyl pyruvate may be cheaper to manufacture than DEET, the most effective chemical now in use. He says it's too expensive for most people in malaria-affected areas.
 
"Perhaps by finding designer odors, better odors that can attack other target receptors, we will be able to improve upon DEET and finally have the next generation of insect behavior control product," he said.
 
The University of California scientists say they believe they will soon be able to find a way to manufacture cheaper and more effective repellents for the fight against mosquitoes.   
 

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More