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Prevent 99% of mosquitoes from biting us? This may soon be a reality thanks to Israeli researchers who have developed a new formula that acts as a “barrier” on the skin.

Your grandmother’s tricks don’t work against mosquitoes? You may soon be able to put away your citronella candles. Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel) may have found the ultimate solution. They claim to have developed a perfect protection system against mosquito bites. In a new study published last April, success rates of 99% were found by laboratory experiments.

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How it works ?

We know it, mosquitoes are attracted to body odor (as well as our heat and CO2 emissions). This is how they manage to sting us despite our efforts. Some shower gels even attract mosquitoes more than others. So, rather than a repellent that would keep mosquitoes away, scientists developed a ” barrier which would allow camouflage chemically by blocking body odor.

The formula consists of two natural substances:

  • Cellulose. It is a carbohydrate which is the main constituent of the wall of plants. By using cellulose nanocrystals (NCC), it is possible to form a thin barrier on the skin. A 80% reduction in the risk of being bitten was observed with this protection.
  • indole. An aromatic compound found in certain flowers, indole acts as a repellent. Combined with the NCCs, the application of the formula to the skin provided 99% protection.

This discovery is promising, but we still need to ensure that it is effective outside the laboratory. New experiments are thus planned to perfect the formula and confirm that it is safe for humans.

Such a breakthrough in research would be essential if we want to prevent diseases linked to mosquito bites. These are responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide each year. Diseases such as malaria, dengue or the Zika virus are transmitted by tiger mosquitoes. And sadly it’s now 71% of French territory who is concerned by their activity according to the Vigilance-Moustiques site.

Source : Mosquito bite prevention through self-assembled cellulose nanocrystals, PNAS NexusApril 2023

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