For many of us, mosquitoes are merely an annoying part of summer, sending us inside in the evenings and sometimes leaving us with itchy little bites on exposed areas. However, in some parts of the world, getting a mosquito bite could be a life or death situation, because those little bloodsuckers can carry diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever, and there may not be any "inside" to retreat to, safely away from reach of mosquitoes.
But the development of a novel form of mosquito repellent could make it much safer for humans in those areas, because the non-toxic compounds in it can effectively block mosquitoes’ ability to track humans for up to 48 hours, rendering the wearer virtually invisible to mosquitoes.
The Kite Patch recently finished a wildly successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign (it raised $557,254, which blew away their original target of $75,000), and the first run of the product will be produced and then field-tested in malaria-impacted regions of Uganda (where malaria infection rates are over 60%).
"Malaria continues to kill a child every minute of the day – which is why we’re working 24/7 to build a new approach to help change the game against mosquitoes." - Grey Frandsen, Kite Patch Team Lead
The Kite Patch, which measures 1.5" square, is designed to stick on to clothing or equipment, and works by disrupting mosquitoes' carbon dioxide neurons, effectively blocking their primary method of tracking humans for feeding for at least 48 hours.
"Kite Patch uses powerful, non-toxic compounds that are FDA approved for harmless human contact. No more toxic sprays or lotions, and no more silly, ineffective ingredients that don’t work."
While full field trials are necessary to gauge the real-world effectiveness of the Kite, the product is backed by years of research and testing at Olfactor Laboratories, Inc., where the patch has been trialled in "every conceivable condition, climate, configuration, and human setting".
The Kite still needs to go through EPA approval in order to be offered for sale here in the U.S., which is estimated to take about a year. In the meantime, the team will be distributing about 100,000 of the patches in Uganda (said to be equivalent to 4 million hours of protection) and studying the effectiveness of the Kite there.
If successful in production and distribution, the Kite Patch could be a huge step forward in replacing the need for current mosquito repellent products that have ineffective or toxic chemicals in them, and provide almost instant protection for users as they go through their normal daily activities.
If you'd like to know when the Kite Patch will be available in your area, sign up via the contact form at the bottom of their website.