Written by Matt Jalink, Community Health & Epidemiology student at Dalhousie University
23 October 2016
Mosquitos are annoying, plentiful, and at times, dangerous. Whether you’re on a camping trip in a Canadian national park or walking to school in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, mosquitos are an irritating and potentially fatal part of our lives. Malaria, Zika, Dengue Fever, and West Nile are a few examples of mosquito-vector pathogens responsible for high rates of morbidity and mortality. Due to our changing climate, mosquitos are now expanding to new areas and thus new control and prevention efforts are needed. Current mosquito repellent and control measures are either toxic depending on the DEET concentration, ineffective with short duration of protection, or time-consuming and cumbersome to apply.
Luckily, Kite offers two novel mosquito repellant options. They currently have 1 product on store shelves and another in the later stages of development and testing. Kite Shield Repellent is a patent pending, DEET-free aerosol that is made from botanical active ingredients. The repellent provides approximately four hours of protection from the pesky insects. Expected to be released next year, the Kite Patch is developed as a lightweight, wearable sticker that has been shown to provide 48 hours of protection under lab conditions.
Each year the Global Health Office at Dalhousie selects a theme to connect our discussions and events; this year we have chosen the Sustainable Development Goals established by the UN. This innovative product line highlights two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: #4 Global Health and Wellbeing and #9 Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure. Kite’s goal of decreasing mosquito-born pathogens through essential medical product innovation is a creative next step towards reaching our UN sanctioned goals.
Both products work by targeting the insects’ sense of smell. The powerful, non-toxic, easily applicable mosquito repellent patch targets the insect’s CO2 receptors, inhibiting their ability to locate their human target . Mosquitos can locate a person via exhaled CO2 from up to 100 yards away. The repellent products were developed at the University of California Riverside and financed through an individual donor financing campaign. To date, they have received six figures worth of funding from more than 10’000 backers that include the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation and the American National Institute of Health.
To test the Kite Patch’s effectiveness in the field, a large scale, 6-month pilot trial is currently underway in Uganda. Uganda is an East-African nation endemic to many mosquito-born pathogens including Malaria where in some areas, greater than 60% of children are infected. Kite is working with in-country organization Pilgrim Africa, who is helping distribute the repellent patches, implement the campaign infrastructure, and collect feedback on the technology.
Kite is an exciting, creative new method of preventing mosquito born illnesses aimed at tackling the Global Health and Wellbeing and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals . With 2 million deaths per year from Malaria alone, new technology and control methods like Kite are needed to help prevent and control mosquito transmitted diseases.
To find out more about the Sustainable Development Goals click here.
To find out more about the Kite Patch click here.