Pesticide-free clothoing clothing prevents 100% of mosquito bites
The researchers developed the materials using a computational model of their own design, which describes the biting behavior of Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries viruses that cause human diseases like Zika, Dengue fever, and yellow fever.
Ultimately, the researchers reported in the journal that they were able to prevent 100% of bites when a volunteer wore their clothing-a base layer undergarment and a combat shirt initially designed for the military-in a cage with 200 live, disease-free mosquitoes.
The researchers think their computational model could be used more widely to develop clothing to reduce transmission of diseases.
To develop the computational model to design textile materials that could prevent A. aegypti bites, researchers investigated the dimensions of the head, antenna, and mouth of A. aegypti, and the mechanics of how it bites. Then, they used the model to predict textile materials that would prevent bites, depending on their thickness and pore size. Researchers say they believe the materials could be effective against other mosquito species in addition to A. aegypti because of similarities in biology and biting behavior.
The researchers tested the number of bites volunteers received when they inserted an arm covered by a protective sleeve into a mosquito cage. The researchers also compared the fabrics’ ability to prevent bites and repel mosquitoes to fabrics treated with an insecticide.
From what they learned in early experiments, researchers developed the bite-resistant, form-fitting undergarment made with a thin material, as well as a long-sleeved shirt, which was initially envisioned as a combat shirt for the military.
When a volunteer wore the garments sitting for 10 minutes and standing for 10 minutes in a walk-in cage with 200 hungry mosquitos, the combat shirt was 100% effective at preventing bites.