A company in Riverside, Calif., is on a mission to save us from … mosquitos. Kite™ Mosquito Patch claims that it can offer 48-hour protection against the insects, which are, at the very least, pesky. Far worse, they spread diseases that too often prove fatal.
The “breakthrough scientific discovery,” as stated by the company, is the use of non-toxic compounds proven to disrupt the mosquito’s carbon dioxide neurons. Kite’s compounds act as a non-topical, spatial repellent, blocking mosquitoes’ ability to detect carbon dioxide, which is how the insects track humans for their blood.
Also breakthrough is its simplicity: a small, unobtrusive piece of fabric that provides protection for at least two days, without toxic chemicals or clumsy mechanical devices. It can be stuck to almost anything—clothing, backpacks, strollers, bikes, baby slings or other gear. It’s also affordable, the company assures, although a specific price has not yet been set.
Formed three years ago, the company acquired the original discovery of compounds that showed efficacy in manipulating mosquitoes’ carbon dioxide tracking mechanisms. The University of California, Riverside, and Professor Anandasankar Ray, had received large research grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The company’s goal is to offer the Kite patch as a significant advancement in the global fight against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever. Designed to be durable, easy-to-use, and safe for children and adults, it is intended for use around the world in a range of climates and conditions.
The product is not yet available for distribution. The first run of Kite Patches will be tested in malaria-impacted regions of Uganda. Financial backers will receive their Kite Patches as part of the first full production of Kite Patches after U.S. EPA approval is obtained. The company estimates that that this will take 10–14 months.