Ma. Alyssa M. Ladiana
Princess Claudette Mercurio
What is a Mosquito Patch Repellant?
MosquitoPatch is a trans-dermal patch delivering sufficient doses of thiamine (vitamin B1) directly to the dermal or skin layer of the human body to act as a mosquito repellent. Through this application, thiamine can move through the skin directly into the bloodstream and be circulated throughout the body before being excreted again through sweat. Not all mosquito repellant works, they are designed to mask the body’s natural scent, which in theory should stop the bugs finding you appealing. These products offer a temporary solution but need to be re-applied constantly, and are not always effectively.
This may seem a strange question to ask. However, it is critically important. There are thousands of mosquito species worldwide. Some are far more important as nuisance-biting pests than others. Many don’t even bite humans. The vast majority of mosquito repellent tests published in the scientific literature use Aedes aegypti (the dengue/yellow fever mosquito). This is pretty much the lab rat of the mosquito world. It is a great species to work with as it is a day-biting species and has a relatively consistent biting rate. Testing a repellent against Aedes aegypti is pretty much the way to go. In malaria prone regions, testing against the malaria-vector and avid nuisance-biting species Anopheles gambiae is useful too.
If, however, a repellent is tested against a species such Culex quinquefasciatus, a species generally associated with bird-feeding, it is difficult to be confident with the results. We have this species is colony and whenever it is used for repellent tests, we get greatly different results. For example, in our testing of a botanical-based topical repellent, over 200min of protection against Culex quinquefasciatus was achieved but no protection against Aedes aegypti was recorded.
I couldn’t find any reference to the mosquito species used for the lab testing of the Kite™ Mosquito Patch but I’d suspect that they probably used Aedes aegypti.
Does the product repel or protect?
This is a tricky one. What is an effective repellent? One that stops some mosquitoes biting or one that stops ALL mosquitoes biting? Given that it only takes one mosquito bite for the transmission of a pathogen, I believe that a repellent should provide protection from all bites. This is why most published reports contain information on “complete protection time” of candidate repellents. This represents the duration of protection provided by a repellent. It is interesting to note that once a candidate repellent has failed this test (i.e. mosquitoes are actively biting) there may be still be over 80% reduction in the number of mosquitoes landing on treated forearms compared to untreated controls.
A repellent that only reduces the number of bites won’t necessarily prevent disease.
When will we know if the Kite™ Mosquito Patch works?
As the developers state on their fundraising page, field work is to be conducted in Uganda. It will be interesting to see the results. They will certainly have a great funding base to work from. In their promotional video they state they’re testing in the “toughest proving ground there is”. It is true that Uganda has a high rate of malaria. It will be great to see a well designed project that investigates the role of the new repellent device in reducing disease risks. I hope they include other strategies as well including bed nets and insecticides as well to determine what works best.
If they really want to test the Kite™ Mosquito Patch with regard to protecting against mosquito bites, they are welcome to get in touch with me. Some of my study sites have huge populations of the saltmarsh mosquito Aedes vigilax. If the repellent patch works in those situations, it really will be a game changer!