Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Thwarting Flies – II Net Benefit

Simple design modification of bed nets influences anti-mosquito effectivity

24 January 2020

Net Benefit

Mosquitos carrying malaria cause hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. While bed nets offer some protection from night bites, soaking them in insecticide poses a risk to human health, while insects grow resistant to some 'safer' insecticides like pyrethroid. Here a surprisingly simple solution blocks female Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes as they try to feed on a human volunteer. Adding a vertical panel to a bed net – strategically positioned over the sleeper’s torso, where the insects circle – interferes with the coloured flight paths of these 25 mosquitos. Treating this top panel with insecticide – rather than the whole net – provides a safer and cheaper way to use powerful chemicals, and if adopted by the World Health Organisation, could provide widespread protection in parts of the world affected by malaria.

Written by John Ankers

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